At Wednesday’s Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s Supreme Court nomination, Chairman Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) refused to allow Jackson to answer a question from Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), because Cruz’s time had expired.
But, Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) used his time to get a response from Jackson to Cruz’s question about a lenient sentence the judge handed out in a child pornography case in which the defendant was convicted of trying to cross state lines to rape another person’s nine-year old daughter and had 6,700 images and videos of egregious and brutal child pornography:
“The government recommended 97 months. The guidelines said 97 to 121 months. You came in at 57 months. Sen. Cruz asked you why; the chairman wouldn’t let you answer. I thought, maybe, you’d like to answer now.”
“No one case can stand in for a judge’s entire record,“ Judge Jackson answered, adding that she has always “imposed a sentence that was sufficient, but not greater than necessary“:
“I have sentenced more than a hundred people in a variety of egregious circumstances. In every case, especially cases that involved the kind of acts that you’re talking about, the kind of evidence that I had to deal with as a judge, in every case, I am balancing the factors that Congress has determined are appropriate and required for a judge to make a determination.
“The data points that Senator Cruz pointed to, that you may have in front of you, don’t account for all of the information that was before me as a judge. And, the authority that you all, Congress, in your prior confirmation when I was a district judge provided for me to exercise my judgement. And, I treated those case, and every case, very seriously and imposed a sentence that was sufficient, but not greater than necessary to promote the purposes of punishment.”
“Would it surprise you to learn that Mr. Stewart is a recidivist, he had warrants issued again for his arrest, just three years after you sentenced him?” Sen. Hawley asked.
“Among the various people that I have sentenced, I’m not surprised that there are people who re-offend. And, it’s a terrible thing that happens in our system,” Judge Jackson responded.