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Biden's Supreme Court pick once criticized Trump's efforts to thwart Congress by declaring 'Presidents are not kings'

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Ketanji Brown Jackson and Donald Trump
Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson and former President Donald Trump.Kevin Lamarque-Pool/Getty Images; Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images
  • Ketanji Brown Jackson dismissed Trump's claim that advisors didn't have to testify before Congress.

  • Biden nominated the DC Circuit Court judge to the Supreme Court on Friday, February 25.

  • Her 2019 opinion, which drew attention at the time, could become a focal point if she's nominated.

US Circuit Court Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, who on Friday was named President Joe Biden's Supreme Court pick, once issued a 118-page opinion that torched the Trump administration for arguing that former White House counsel Don McGahn didn't have to cooperate with Congress' investigation.

"Stated simply, the primary takeaway from the past 250 years of recorded American history is that Presidents are not kings," Jackson wrote in 2019. "Rather, in this land of liberty, it is indisputable that current and former employees of the White House work for the People of the United States, and that they take an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

Biden fulfilled his campaign promise to name a Black woman to the court by selecting Jackson. A former clerk for Justice Stephen Breyer, Jackson will become the first former federal public defender to serve on the high court if she's confirmed.

The Trump White House had argued for months that McGahn didn't have to testify before House lawmakers about Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and Trump's efforts to thwart special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation. Trump even directed McGahn to not comply with a congressional subpoena, part of his administration's near-complete refusal to accede to congressional oversight.

"Thus, DOJ's present assertion that the absolute testimonial immunity that senior-level presidential aides possess is, ultimately, owned by the President, and can be invoked by the President to overcome the aides' own will to testify, is a proposition that cannot be squared with core constitutional values, and for this reason alone, it cannot be sustained," Jackson continued.

Some Senate Republicans zeroed in on Jackson's 2019 opinion during her Senate confirmation hearing in April 2021. Biden had nominated Jackson to rise from the federal DC court to DC appeals court, the latter of which is widely regarded as a stepping-stone to the Supreme Court.

Sen. Thom Tillis, a Republican from North Carolina, tried to connect Jackson's decision in the McGahn case to the then-growing interest in her serving on the Supreme Court, The Washington Post reported.

"I know very well what my obligations are, what my duties are, not to rule with partisan advantage in mind, not to tailor or craft my decisions in order to try to gain influence or do anything of the sort," Jackson said in response.

McGahn's court fight stretched on for months and outlasted Trump's time in the White House. Last May, McGahn finally reached an agreement to appear, two years after the fight over his testimony began.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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