Politico Magazine asked scholars to tell Judge Jackson what questions they’d pose. It was something I decided to try.
It is now over. The Supreme Court confirmation process is broken. Nearly thirty years ago, Elena Kagan (then-Professor) described it as “a vapid charade.” To no one’s surprise Kagan, along with all the other Supreme Court nominees, refused to answer questions that might have endangered their chances. Judge Jackson is now ready to make charades. She is uniquely qualified to answer the critical question of how should the Supreme Court confirmation process change. Jackson, who has been through confirmation hearings for the Supreme Court before, is now ready to take on this challenge again. Jackson has a wealth of experience that gives her insight into all aspects of the process, including selection by President, preparation for the murder boards, meetings with senators, and the hearings.
Jackson is likely to have ideas on ways the process can be improved, I believe. She will also answer three questions that follow up to reveal her understanding of politics and law. What should the president be looking for in a Supreme Court justice candidate? Not this president — a president in general. Jackson might explain in some way why Jackson was chosen. The second question is what questions senators should ask Supreme Court nominees regarding her records? Jackson is certain that Jackson feels some questions are within bounds. These questions could shed light on what aspects of Jackson’s jurisprudence should be considered fair game for political considerations. The third question is how do senators choose whether or not to vote for a candidate? She may think that any nominee meeting minimum qualifications should be voted for by senators. But she may think something more may factor into the decision — whatever that is, senators should probe further.
Jackson won’t be able to avoid answering these questions, if she says it correctly. She is allowed to speak about the confirmation process, subject to the rules of judicial ethic. This allows senators to get a better understanding of Jackson’s view on the position she will most likely hold for many years.
It is a pleasure to watch the proceedings.