Ketanji Jackson, Supreme Court nominee for the Supreme Court, has a lot of areas that one can disagree with. The people who watched her confirmation hearing didn’t know what they might have been.
This is partly because the Senate Republicans chose to focus on political topics and are easy to capture, but little information or challenge Jackson’s constitutional rights.
One such example came yesterday during an exchange between Jackson and Sen. Tom Cotton (R–Ark.Jackson was then criticized for her role as federal public defense attorney. In that time, she represented Guantanamo Bay clients. This military prison is where the vast majority of prisoners are kept indefinitely, without ever being charged with any criminal offense.
Cotton: Do you think most detainees at Guantanamo Bay were mostly terrorists or mostly, I don’t know, innocent goat farmers?… Do you think America would be safer or less safe if we released all the detainees from Guantanamo Bay?
Jackson: Senator… I’m trying to figure out how to answer that question. The terrorist attack of 9/11 on the United States was terrible. According to the Supreme Court’s authority, the executive branch designated individuals as enemy combatants, and sent them to Guantanamo bay. The Supreme Court also said that anyone that was so detained could seek review of their detention, and as a federal public defender, my role and responsibility was to make arguments in defense of the Constitution and in service to the court that was trying to assess—based on the authority given to it by the Supreme Court—whether or not people were adequately classified, what the legal circumstances were, how these habeas petitions were going to be processed. The court was faced with a number of legal problems in a new setting. This required federal public defense lawyers and other attorneys across the country to help it evaluate in order for us to understand the Constitution in the time of crisis.
CottonOkay, I don’t think America is safer or more secure if all Guantanamo detainees are released.
Jackson: Senator America would be [safer]Absolutely, if there aren’t terrorists running around the country attacking it, then absolutely. America will be safer if all our Constitution rights are respected. It is how our system works. It is this way that the Constitution we love works. It is all about ensuring the government acts as it ought to in crisis. Justice Gorsuch explained that “The Constitution cannot be suspended in times crisis.” It is still up to the government to comply with these rules. In times of crisis, criminal defense attorneys ensure the rules are being followed by government officials.
It’s an extraordinary richness for a Republican senator to weaponize the right of defense counsel as an AffrontIt is important to distinguish between the Constitution and something which is central to the charter of our country. This is especially true when you consider Cotton’s declared litmus test as a judge, which he stated at the beginning of Jackson’s hearings. “I’m searching for a Justice who will uphold Constitution,” he said on Monday. I’m searching for a justice that understands what the Constitution says, and what it does not.
Cotton is well aware that the Constitution’s core idea, which states that anyone suspected of committing a crime has the right to an attorney, is Cotton. This should be the core of every ideology that advocates “limited government” or protects individual rights. These rights must not be restricted to those who are his friends.
Cotton was not the only one. Jackson played a significant role in filing the an anzuziehen Ta at set get in Get Similarly all put Determin de Dese Und In Likewise, Put in Interestingly enough parallel AmicusThis brief was written on behalf the Libertarian Cato Institute, conservative Christian Rutherford Institute, as well the bipartisan Constitution Project, in support Guantanamo detainees, who had been legal residents of Guantanamo and were taken into custody and detained indefinitely based on their suspicion.
Clark Neily, Senior Vice President of Legal Studies Cato says that Jackson’s interactions with Senate Republicans that implied Jackson was unfit to serve as Supreme Court justice because she had been a public defense lawyer were so unscrupulous that they can only accept it as grandstanding. “People who go after her for doing that work ought to think long and hard about whether they really want to send a message to some of the best and the brightest in next generation of lawyers that if you pick the wrong cause—it could be gun rights, school choice, religious freedom—that this is what you have in store for you.”
Attorneys representing both sides in the Guantanamo case wrote to the Senate Judiciary Committee to deny the notion that Jackson’s work is invalid. Guantanamo litigation is a long-standing favorite of the Bar. This includes the nation’s most prominent and prestigious law firms. It also includes the Government’s most knowledgeable attorneys. The group said that reasonable minds may differ on how the questions should be answered. The Constitution envisages securing the answers through orderly litigation in federal courts. These cases are brought to the Supreme Court by skilled and dedicated advocates from both sides.
For a potential future Supreme Court justice, participating in that constitutional process is not a stain but a virtue—something that Republican senators might concede in most circumstances, had the cameras not been rolling.