Ketanji Brown Jackson Defends Using ‘Noncitizens’ Term to Describe Illegal Aliens: ‘Language Matters’

Chip Somodevilla/John Moore/Getty Images
Chip Somodevilla/John Moore/Getty Images

President Joe Biden’s nominee to replace Justice Stephen Breyer on the Supreme Court, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, defended her use of the term “noncitizens” to describe border crossers and illegal aliens in her legal opinions.

As Breitbart News previously reported, Jackson has made a note in her opinions to employ the term “noncitizen” or “undocumented non-citizens” rather than the terms “alien” or “illegal aliens” that are regularly used in court and in federal statutes.

During her third day of confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Jackson defended using the terms “noncitizen” and “undocumented non-citizens” when referring to border crossers and illegal aliens.

“Judges are the only branch of government who are required to write our opinions, to explain our decisions,” Jackson said:

And I have long believed in that capacity that our clarity and language matters. We’re explaining the law to people and people read and understand what the law is, what the rule of law is in this country through the opinions of judges. [Emphasis added]

So they do matter, language. [Emphasis added]

U.S. Supreme Court nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson testifies during her confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill March 23, 2022, in Washington, DC. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Sen. Alex Padilla (D-CA) praised Jackson’s use of the terms, claiming that other judges and federal statutes regularly use “dehumanizing” terms when referring to illegal aliens.

“Beyond our often cruel and counterproductive choices when it comes to immigration policy, the language that we use to speak about immigrants can often have dehumanizing effects,” Padilla said. “For example, in the Immigration and Nationality Act, it’s replete with references to ‘aliens’ and court opinions … can be found referring to undocumented persons as ‘illegal aliens.'”

“Let’s be clear, no person is an alien and no human being can be illegal,” Padilla said.

“What stood out to me is that you seemed to try to avoid making the same choice as many of your predecessors and many of your colleagues,” Padilla continued. “When not quoting statute or precedence, your opinions appear not to refer to immigrants as ‘alien’ or ‘illegal.’ Instead, you used terms like ‘undocumented’ and ‘noncitizen.'”

During her second day of hearings, Jackson again referred to illegal aliens as “noncitizens.”

Readers can watch day three of Jackson’s confirmation hearing here.

John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Email him at Follow him on Twitter here


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