At the beginning of Ketanji Brown Jackson’s confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee this week, the Democrats portrayed the president’s Supreme Court nominee as so unimpeachable that she could withstand any line of query.
By the end of the three days, the chairman of the committee was cutting off GOP Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas so that she didn’t have to answer questions about her lenient sentencing of child porn offenders.
In viral video from the final day of questioning on Wednesday, Illinois Democrat Sen. Dick Durbin forced an end to Cruz’s questioning of Jackson regarding a light sentence in what she called an “egregious” case, not even leaving the floor open to Jackson to answer.
Jackson’s pattern of bucking prosecution recommendations and setting low sentences for child porn offenders has been a consistent concern with Republicans during the hearings. Here at The Western Journal, we’ve noted the problems it represents — and how the media has covered up for Jackson on the issue. We’ll keep holding the Biden administration’s feet to the fire on this and other judicial nominations. You can help us by subscribing.
In the exchange, Cruz had asked Jackson about her sentencing in the case of United States v. Stewart. According to The Daily Caller, she had sentenced a man convicted of possessing 6,700 child porn images who had allegedly wanted to cross state lines with a 9-year-old girl to 57 months in prison.
Federal minimum guidelines call for at least 97 months imprisonment, all the way up to 121 months for such offenses.
Durbin called time on him, however, which led to Cruz angrily noting the chairman had “taken over a minute of my time.”
“OK, I know you want to interrupt because I know you don’t like my line of questioning,” Cruz said.
Should Judge Jackson be on the Supreme Court?
“I know you like to interrupt, but you have consumed a substantial question of mine at the time of my questioning and I’m gonna ask my questions and if you want to testify, you’re welcome to.”
After he asked questions about United States v. Stewart, Durbin interrupted again.
“You’re not recognized, senator,” Durbin said.
“You don’t want her to answer that question?” Cruz said. Durbin said he wouldn’t.
“Mr. Chairman, she may answer the question I’ve asked her. Why she said Stewart, an egregious—”
“You’re going over the time, senator, by two minutes,” Durbin continued.
“Because you’ve interrupted me for two minutes, Mr. Chairman. Will you allow her to answer the question or do you not want the American people to hear why, with someone she described as egregious—” Cruz continued. “… Will you allow her to answer the question?”
He wouldn’t, moving on to Delaware Democrat Sen. Chris Coons.
“Chairman Durbin, I’ve never seen the chairman refuse to allow a witness to answer a question,” Cruz said. Durbin then began banging on his gavel.
“You can bang it as loud as you want! Apparently, we’re very afraid of the American people hearing the answer to that question,” Cruz said in conclusion.
The scene came a day after another viral moment from Cruz, this one demonstrating with a whiteboard that, in every case where Jackson had leeway in sentencing of a child pornography offender, she cut sentences recommended by the prosecution by an average of nearly 50 percent, with some offenders receiving over 80 percent cuts over what was recommended.
“Every single case, 100 percent of them, when prosecutors came before you with child pornography cases, you sentenced the defenders to substantially below not just the guidelines, which are way higher, but what the prosecutor asked for on average of these cases, 47.2 percent less,” Cruz said.
“Do you believe the voice of the children is heard when 100 percent of the time you’re sentencing those in possession of child pornography to far below what the prosecutor is asking for?” he asked.
Ted Cruz pulls out his white board to illustrate how in child pornography cases, Ketanji Brown Jackson gave the defendants an average 47.2% less sentence than what the prosecutors recommended. pic.twitter.com/7VUnbdAg2E
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) March 22, 2022
Jackson’s response was that she took “these cases very seriously as a mother, as someone who as a judge has to review the actual evidence in these cases and, based on Congress’ requirement, take into account not only the sentencing guidelines, not only the recommendations of the parties, but also things like the stories of the victims, also things like the nature and circumstances of the offense and the history and characteristics of the defendant.”
Here is Judge Jackson’s reply:
“Congress’ requirement take into account, not only the guidelines and recommendations, but also things like the story’s of the victims, the nature and circumstances of the offense…” pic.twitter.com/Qt0UnPSngT
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) March 22, 2022
This seemed astoundingly disingenuous at the time, particularly given how low some of the sentences were. In one case, the guidelines called for 97 to 121 months and the prosecution asked for two years. Jackson gave the offender three months and practically apologized for it.
That was on Tuesday; she gave a bad answer to the question. On Wednesday, Durbin ensured she would give no answer. It’s difficult to choose which one was worse.