Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley has deep concerns about President Joe Biden’s nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court, particularly her full-throated advocacy as a defense lawyer for terrorists in the Guantanamo Bay prison.
“I think she needs to explain why she made the arguments that she did,” Hawley told The Heartlander, “and why she was representing these terrorists in first place and chose to do so. Over a period of time she chose to keep representing them, even when she was in private practice.”
Hawley argues the nominee, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, not only chose to defend several terrorists soon after 9-11, but did so pugnaciously – seeking to have U.S. prosecutors sanctioned by the court, which she failed to accomplish.
“She was very aggressive against our government on behalf of these terrorists,” Hawley said. “We had a good meeting [Wednesday]. I do have some concerns though, coming out of that meeting, I have to tell you. I need to hear more about why she chose to represent these folks, why she pursued sanctions against the United States government on behalf of these terrorists.”
Jackson also maintained that terrorists should be tried in American civilian court like an ordinary citizen, not in a military proceeding, which Hawley also finds fault with.
Jackson has said the Guantanamo Bay cases were simply funneled to the D.C. courts, where she was an assistant federal public defender, and that she had an ethical duty to represent her clients with zeal. In private practice, she later was called on to merely ply that experience during some appeals, she said.
Withholding judgment on how he’ll vote on Jackson’s nomination, though having voted against her nomination to the D.C. Court of Appeals last year, Hawley told The Heartlander he’s also deeply skeptical of Jackson’s record on public safety.
“She’s advocated what I really think are soft-on-crime policies,” he said.
Moreover, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell noted that one of Jackson’s district court rulings was once reversed by a unanimous three-judge panel of the D.C. Court she now sits on. Jackson herself has acknowledged that 10 of her decisions during her eight years as a district court judge were reversed either in part or in whole by the D.C. circuit.
For his part, Hawley is taken aback by Jackson’s candid claim to him that she has no judicial philosophy and doesn’t consider herself a “textualist” who would adhere to the words in the Constitution.
“I’m kind of concerned that the people who say they don’t have a philosophy usually go out and do whatever it is that they want, in case after case,” Hawley said.