By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
Religious beliefs, child pornography, black money and court expansion were a big part of the second day of historic Senate confirmation hearings for DC Circuit Court Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, so that she is seeking to become the first African-American woman on the United States Supreme Court.
Political posturing, unorthodox questioning and even the blatant suggestion that Judge Jackson is soft on crime, reached even lower when Republican Senator Lindsay Graham of South Carolina weighed in on his personal choice, Judge Michelle Childs, before storming out of the hallowed halls of the Hart Senate Building on Capitol Hill.
“During your appointment, did you notice that people on the left were rather encouraging you?” Senator Graham asked Judge Jackson.
“A lot of people were cheering me on,” Jackson replied.
Senator Graham then claimed that progressive groups and others led an effort to disqualify Judge Childs. He claimed members of these alleged groups had called Judge Childs an “unreliable anti-union Republican in disguise.”
Troubled, Judge Jackson told the senator that she was unaware of this because, as a sitting judge, she remained focused on the cases before her.
After an exchange with Democratic Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois, Senator Graham stormed out of the room.
Judge Jackson also resisted criticism from Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri, who accused the judge of letting pedophiles off the hook.
“As a mother and a judge who had to deal with these cases, I thought nothing could be further from the truth,” Judge Jackson remarked. “These are some of the toughest cases a judge has to deal with because we are talking about child sexual abuse images.
“We’re talking about graphic descriptions for judges to read and consider when deciding sentencing in these cases, and there’s a law that tells judges what they’re supposed to do.”
Perhaps referring the matter to Senator Hawley, Judge Jackson reminded everyone that federal sentencing guidelines are established by Congress.
“I impose … constraints because I understand how important, harmful, horrible this crime is,” demanded Judge Jackson.
When Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) asked if Judge Jackson would support expanding the court from the current nine justices, she hesitated.
“Respectfully, Senator, other Supreme Court nominees have responded as I will, which is that this is a political issue for Congress,” Judge Jackson said.
“I’m so determined to stay in my lane of the system.”
Senator Grassley persisted, asking if the Supreme Court had been bought and paid for with “black money”.
“Senator, I have no reason to believe that is the case,” Judge Jackson replied.
Earlier, Senator Graham had pressed Judge Jackson about his religious beliefs.
“What faith are you of, by the way? Graham cursed. “Could you fairly judge a Catholic?
“How important is your faith to you?” He continued. “On a scale of 1 to 10, how faithful would you say you are in terms of religion?”
Judge Jackson claimed that she identified as a non-denominational Protestant Christian.
She insisted that her faith was very important, but noted that there was no religious test for confirmation under the US Constitution.
“I hesitate to talk about my faith in this way,” Judge Jackson replied. “I want to be aware of the need for the public to have confidence in my ability to separate my personal opinions.”
During the afternoon portion of the hearing, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California) attempted to provide decorum, questioning Judge Jackson about the significance of her nomination.
Judge Jackson proposed that her appointment and the diversity on the bench allow for role models.
“I have received so many notes, letters and photos from little girls across the country telling me they are so excited about this opportunity,” Judge Jackson said.
“Because I’m a woman, a black woman, all of those things people said were really meaningful to them.”