- McConnell, during a recent GOP luncheon, begged his caucus to reject Ketanji Brown Jackson’s SCOTUS nomination.
- He reportedly commended Justice Republicans for investigating the judge’s sentencing history, per The Hill.
- Senator Susan Collins is currently the only Republican planning to vote for Jackson’s confirmation.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is urging his GOP caucus to vote against confirming Ketanji Brown Jackson in the Supreme Court, according to The Hill.
Despite Jackson’s landmark nomination — which would become the first black woman in US history to sit on the High Court if successfully elected — the Kentucky Republican argued that a “no” shouldn’t be limited to “race or gender.” would be based, but in the judge’s file, according to the publication.
During a recent Senate GOP luncheon, McConnell begged his peers to dismiss Jackson, arguing that the judge on the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit avoided a harsh approach to crime, a narrative many Judiciary Committee Republicans pushed during her confirmation hearings when they questioned their court sentencing records in multiple sex cases.
A Republican senator told The Hill that McConnell commended the members of the Judiciary Committee for raising the issue of sentencing publicly.
“Seeking recognition, he said, ‘I just want to thank the members of the Judiciary Committee for the amazing job they did in exposing this judge’s radical record, and in particular her record on child pornography cases is alarmingly extreme,'” he said Unknown said the legislature of the publication.
McConnell then brought up the case of Wesley Hawkins, who appeared before then-Federal District Judge Brown in a 2013 child pornography case in which he pleaded guilty to a felony.
Hawkins was 18 at the time of his arrest, and he was 19 when Jackson handed out a three-month prison sentence, in addition to three months of house arrest and six years of supervision.
Many conservatives have argued that the sentence was too lenient. Prosecutors in the case recommended two years in prison, while Hawkins’ defense attorney called for one day in prison and five years’ supervised release.
Hawkins had no criminal record.
Over lunch, McConnell reportedly continued to hunch over the Hawkins case.
“I think the Democrats thought this would be an easy process, an endorsement, but it won’t because she’s a radical candidate and I would hope that any Republican would take a serious look at her record, which I find troubling.” hold,” he told a source.
The Republican leader’s message is putting some pressure on some of Jackson’s potential GOP supporters in the upper chamber, including Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Mitt Romney of Utah.
Murkowski was present at the lunch but did not comment on McConnell’s speech, according to The Hill.
Romney said earlier this week that he “enjoyed” meeting Jackson and was still contemplating his decision.
Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, the senior Republican Judiciary Committee member, said this week that he was undecided on Jackson’s nomination. He commended that she was “very smart in her answers” but also expressed his dismay that she would not voice her opinion on the Supreme Court expansion, an issue over which she would have no control if confirmed.
On Thursday, Senator Susan Collins of Maine announced that she will vote to confirm Jackson in court, the first Republican lawmaker to pledge to support her nomination.
McConnell is unable to stop Jackson’s nomination because no member of the Senate’s 50-member Democratic faction has indicated they would oppose her nomination. However, the GOP leader is hardening his party’s message ahead of the midterm elections.
Scott Jennings, a Kentucky-based Republican strategist with ties to McConnell, told The Hill that Jackson’s nomination “fits the bigger picture [message that] the Democrats are soft on crime and criminals and the Republicans are not.”
“That’s going to be a big narrative in this campaign,” he told the publication.
Democrats have firmly rejected any notion that Jackson sought leniency for offenders, and have claimed that Republicans have repeatedly taken their sentencing decisions out of context. The party argued that Jackson was one of many judges seeking an update to federal counseling guidelines as internet-based crimes have become more prevalent over the past twenty years.
McConnell described Jackson as “very smart” in a recent interview with Fox News, but said she would not follow a strict interpretation of the Constitution.
“She is a rights activist. She’s very smart, she’s very capable. She will be exactly what President is [Joe] Biden wants — a very liberal Supreme Court Justice,” he said.