Senate Republicans Demand Answers on Ketanji Brown Jackson’s Three-Month Sentence for Sex Offender

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee are demanding answers from Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, President Joe Biden’s nominee to replace Justice Stephen Breyer on the Supreme Court (SCOTUS), on a case in which she sentenced a man to just three months in prison for viewing child pornography.

During her confirmation hearing, a number of GOP Senators mentioned the 2013 case of then-18-year-old Wesley Hawkins, who received a sentence of three months in prison from Jackson for having child pornography depicting prepubescent boys engaged in sex acts in his possession.

Prosecutors had asked for a sentence of two years.

Jackson, as the Washington Post confirmed this week, ordered Hawkins in 2019 to complete his terms of supervision in a halfway house. The order came after Hawkins continued “to seek out sexually arousing, non-pornographic material and images of males 13 to 16-years-old,” according to the probation officer petition filed at the time.

Now, Sens. Tom Cotton (R-AR), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), John Cornyn (R-TX), Mike Lee (R-UT), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Ben Sasse (R-NE), Josh Hawley (R-MO), John Kennedy (R-LA), Thom Tillis (R-NC), and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) say they want specifics on the case from Jackson:

Consistent with measures necessary to protect the privacy of the victims and other innocent third parties, please immediately provide the Committee with a copy of the probation petition that you referenced in that April 2019 order, and an explanation of what Hawkins did in 2019 that earned him twice as much time in [Bureau of Prisons] custody as your original three-month sentence. [Emphasis added]

If discussing those details necessitates confidentiality, please contact the Committee to schedule a closed-door briefing on the topic. Further, please confirm whether computer monitoring software was already required prior to 2019 as part of your original sentence in the Hawkins case. [Emphasis added]

Jackson, during the course of her hearings before the committee, seemed unphased by her history of sentencing felons to prison terms that were lower than those recommended by the Sentencing Commission.

For example, when asked by Hawley if she regretted sentencing Hawkins to only three months in jail, she responded that her only “regret is that in a hearing about my qualifications to be a justice on the Supreme Court, we’ve spent a lot of time focusing on this small subset of my sentences and I’ve tried to explain.”

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


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