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Supreme Court confirmation hearings begin this week for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson

What to know ahead of the historic event
Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson
Posted at 3:00 AM, Mar 21, 2022

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Confirmation hearings for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson begin Monday at the Capitol.

If confirmed, she will make history as the first Black female justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.

What to expect

After meeting privately with senators, this week is when the public questioning will begin.

Jackson, 51, is a former public defender and a current federal Appeals Court judge in D.C. When she was confirmed to the appellate court in 2013, only three Republicans voted for her.

While opening statements start Monday, questioning is expected to begin on Tuesday. The hearing should conclude on Thursday.

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., will lead the questioning for Democrats. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-IA, will lead the questioning for Republicans.

Some of the toughest questions will likely come from the following Republicans on the Judiciary Committee: Sen. Lindsey Graham, Sen. John Cornyn, Sen. Mike Lee, Sen. Josh Hawley, Sen. Ted Cruz, Sen. Marsha Blackburn, Sen. John Kennedy and Sen. Ben Sasse.

The hearings are meant for Jackson to state why she should receive a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court.

Some Republicans may vote for Jackson, but if they don't, every Democrat will need to support her in order for her to be confirmed.

Moderate Democrats Sen. Joe Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema have yet to pledge their support for Jackson.

Hot topics

Some of the most controversial topics will be Jackson's time defending Guantanamo Bay detainees and her past sentences for some sex offenders, which some conservatives say were too lenient.

Democrats will be asking about her views on abortion. She hasn't issued many rulings on the issue, although, Democrats assume she supports the right to have one.

The White House has been prepping Jackson for weeks for this historic moment.

The last time a nominee failed to get confirmed following a confirmation hearing was Robert Borke in 1987.

He was an academic, though, with a very public, controversial record.

Jackson's past is less polarizing.