Ketanji Brown Jackson Won’t Say if U.S. Should Strengthen Child Pornographer Punishments

Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson listens during her Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, March 21, 2022. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, Pool)
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, Pool

President Joe Biden’s Supreme Court nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson did not give a straightforward answer to Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR)’s question about whether the United States should “strengthen or weaken sentences for child pornographers” during Jackson’s confirmation hearing on Tuesday.

“Should the United States strengthen or weaken sentences for child pornographers?” Cotton asked, to which Jackson resonded, “Senator, that is not a simple question, and the reason is because what this country does in terms of penalties is in Congress’s province.”

“You all decide. You decide what the penalties are,” Jackson continued. “You decide what the factors are that judges use to sentence. If you determine that any set of penalties is insufficient, then it is in your purview to make that determination.”

“There are many crimes that Congress has determined warrant mandatory minimum penalties, warrant other kinds of penalties, and that is in your purview to determine,” the judge added.

Sen. Cotton reacted by stating, “I have to say, judge, I think whether or not we should strengthen or weaken sentences for child pornographers is a pretty simple question, but I’ll move on.”

On Monday, Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) called into question Judge Jackson’s record ahead of her confirmation hearing to the U.S. Supreme Court during an interview on FNC’s Fox & Friends.

Hawley, pointing to Jackson’s time on the bench, suggested Jackson had been “lenient” on child sexual predators and “soft on crime.” He said the Senate Judiciary Committee needed to know whether Jackson would protect the nation’s children or the sexual predators.

Tuesday was day two of Jackson’s Supreme Court confirmation hearing, in which the judge also refused to join with the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and outgoing Justice Stephen Breyer in opposing court-packing and said she did not want to answer because she was so determined to stay in her “lane.”

You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Facebook and Twitter at @ARmastrangelo, and on Instagram.


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