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Ketanji Brown Jackson Calls Abortion 'Settled Law' During Heated Day 2 of Confirmation Hearing

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President Biden's Supreme Court nominee was challenged with hours of questioning Tuesday and often found herself in the hot seat.

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson is the first black woman to face confirmation for the High Court.

Senate Republicans are raising concerns on issues ranging from her record on crime and terror as a public defender to religious freedom and her judicial philosophy. There were several hours of vetting Tuesday with Jackson's judicial philosophy in the spotlight.

DAY 2:

With each senator getting 30 minutes, Republicans are now drilling down. It began with the ranking member asking about her interpretation of the Constitution.

"I hope that you will see how much I love our country, and the Constitution and the rights that make us free," Jackson remarked.

Republicans are also honing in on court-packing and Jackson's role of representing detainees at Guantanamo Bay. Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) asked, "Why in the world would you call Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld and George W. Bush war criminals in a legal filing?"

Jackson has also been criticized for being soft on crime and child predators. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) pointed out her record. "Every single case 100% of the time when prosecutors came before you, you sentenced sex offenders to substantially below, not just what the guidelines, what prosecutors asked for - 47.2% less," Cruz said.  

Jackson replied, "A judge is not playing a numbers game. The judge is looking at all the factors and making a determination in every case.... As a mother and a judge who has had to deal with these cases, I was thinking that nothing could be further from the truth," Jackson said.

This is the 51-year-old's fourth confirmation appearance before the committee, where she previously gained GOP support for roles such as sitting on the D.C. Appeals Court. 

Though President Biden prefers a bi-partisan confirmation vote, Democrats say they don't need it. "No one questions either your academic law school credentials or your service as clerk and as federal judge," said Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL).

During the proceedings, Jackson, who stated her belief in God during opening statements, faced questions on her faith. 

"Do you attend church regularly?" asked Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC).  Jackson replied, "I am reluctant to talk about my faith in this way."

Sen. Graham said he wanted to make a point that Jackson's faith, unlike the faith Justice Amy Coney Barrett, will be treated respectfully. He used the moment to point out the abusive treatment leveled against Barrett. "Imagine you're on late-night TV being called an (expletive) nut and speaking in tongues because you practiced the Catholic faith in a way they could not relate to or found uncomfortable," Graham stated.

While Republicans raised concern about Jackson's record on abortion, she was clear about her stance on the subject.

"Roe and Casey are the settled law of the Supreme Court concerning the right to terminate a woman's pregnancy," she said. "They have established a framework that the court has reaffirmed, and in order to revisit, as Justice Barrett said, the Supreme Court looks at various factors because stare decisis is a very important principle."

Jackson faces about eight more hours of questioning on Wednesday. 

DAY 3:

Democrats are confident she will be confirmed by Easter. 

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About The Author


Tara Mergener is an award-winning journalist and expert storyteller who spent the majority of her career as a correspondent in Washington, D.C. She worked at CBS Newspath for many years, reporting for all CBS platforms, including CBS News and CBS affiliates throughout the nation. Tara also reported at CNN, Hearst’s Washington, D.C. Bureau, and was a contributor on Full Court Press with Greta Van Susteren. Tara has won dozens of awards for her investigative and political reporting, including Headliner Foundation’s Best Reporter in Texas, multiple Edward R. Murrow awards, Texas Associated Press