The Senate Judiciary Committee ended its vote for Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson in a deadlock after Republicans responded to criticism they were being too harsh.
All 11 Democrats voted in favor of President Joe Biden’s nominee to replace Justice Stephen Breyer on the Supreme Court, while all Republicans voted against confirming her.
The confirmation vote came weeks after members of the committee aggressively questioned Ms Jackson. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin commended Republicans, including Senior Republican Chuck Grassley, for treating Ms. Jackson with respect, but chided some Republicans for interrupting the judge and “putting her in front of her parents, her… accused her husband and their children of heinous things”.
He alluded to questions from Republican senators about their record in condemning child sex abuse images.
“They questioned her motives and questioned her openness, one almost calling her a liar,” he said. “Judge Jackson is a better man than me. She remained calm and collected. She showed dignity, grace and poise.”
But many Republicans took offense at the poll, saying they would only ask her about her record.
Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton, who is to the right of many Republican senators on criminal justice matters, has criticized her record of sentencing as a judge and for Guantanamo Bay inmates.
“Judge Jackson usually sympathizes with criminals, not victims,” he said. “If you’re a criminal, you’ll be lucky if your case gets assigned to Judge Jackson.”
Senator Lindsey Graham attacked the Democrats for the way they treated Judge Brett Kavanaugh during his hearing and justified his interruption of Ms Jackson during her hearing.
“I don’t know how you question witnesses, I interrupt them when I think they’re backing down, I let them talk when they answer the question,” he said. He also complained about liberal organizations supporting them.
“If we get the Senate back and are in charge of that body and there are court openings, we will speak to our colleagues on the other side, but if we were in charge, she wouldn’t be in front of the committee,” he said.
Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri, the first senator to raise questions about Ms. Jackson’s record in convicting child abusers, responded to White House attacks that he was doing a “QAnon signal smear.”
“Sex crimes against children are not fiction. They’re not a conspiracy,” he said. “These are real crimes. I am a father of three small children.”
But Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, who spent much of his time at the hearing speaking about the role of black money in Republican judge nominations, said the allegations came from the same right-wing money network.
Sen. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee specifically questioned Mr. Durbin’s characterization of Republican attacks as “abhorrent” and “baseless.”
“Questions are not attacks,” she said. “Certifying a Supreme Court Justice is one of our most important duties as United States Senators. This is a lifetime appointment and it would be a dereliction of duty to our constituents not to ask difficult questions.”
Ms Blackburn notoriously asked Ms Jackson “what a woman is” while making a bigger point about transgender women’s participation in public life, saying that Ms Jackson was “a sure voice for government overreach in family decisions”. would be.
Shortly after the vote, Mr Durbin tabled a motion for discharge for Ms Jackson’s nomination and there will now be a four-hour debate on her nomination.
While Republicans mostly took offense at characterizing their attacks, many Democrats defended Judge Jackson. Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey asked Republicans why they voted for Republican-appointed candidates who had passed similar child molestation convictions as Ms. Jackson.
“She didn’t need me to defend her record,” he told The Independent after the vote. “She could have had a committee of 22 Josh Hawleys and she still would have persevered. She is exceptional. I felt the need to speak about her record, which many people felt was not being respected or overlooked, at a time when it should be celebrated and really given the honor and honor it deserves.