Senate Republicans Promise 'Respectful' SCOTUS Nominee Hearings

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US Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson arrives to meet with Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) (out of frame) on Capitol Hill on March 10, 2022, in Washington, DC.
US Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson arrives to meet with Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) (out of frame) on Capitol Hill on March 10, 2022, in Washington, DC.

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s nomination hearings to the Supreme Court begin on March 21st. One Republican senator signals he may be a no vote. Another is not sure how her vote will go down. So far, all the Senate GOP collective has said is that they will keep things “fair” once the hearings begin, according to a report by Politico.

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IW) stated that Judge Jackson would get a “fair, thorough” hearing.

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From Politico:

“The best message I can give you at this point, but I think you’ve heard me say it before: It’s going to be a fair, thorough hearing, and we’re not going to get in the gutter like the Democrats did,” said Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee.

Senate Republicans like Sen. Grassley point to the 2018 Justice Brett Kavanaugh hearings where they felt Senate Democrats made things more personal. However, Democrats do not need a single vote from Republicans to confirm Judge Jackson to the court. Republicans may find it hard to attack her on one thing, even in terms of strategy.

Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) said Jackson was “very charming” and that she “appears to be very intelligent,” while Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) — who has opposed nearly all of Biden’s judges — said he “liked her, personally.” But Hawley added he has concerns about her “overall record on crime.”

Points of interest Republicans may inquire about are Jackson’s representation of Guantanamo Bay detainees during her time as a public defender. Also, the briefs she filed while in private practice for groups that opposed the George W. Bush administration’s detention policies. Lastly, they plan to raise a general question on whether Judge Jackson supports adding seats to the Supreme Court.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) noted that there wouldn’t be a lot of coordination amongst his fellow representatives.

“Republicans? Coordinated?” quipped Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), a member of the Judiciary Committee. “I don’t think there’s going to be a lot of coordination. She’s not a stranger to the members of the committee … Her judicial philosophy, her approach to judging will be the subjects I’m going to focus on.”

Even if Senate Republicans elect to go the civil route, most are poised to vote against Judge Jackson for the Supreme Court anyway. It’s a pretense that Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI) pushes back on.

Republicans are “setting it up that they’re just so wonderful people. You know what I have to say about that,” said Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii). “They can’t find enough ways that they can really attack her, so maybe they’re putting out a narrative that ‘look how reasonable and wonderful we all are.’“