NBC News: Senate panel meets to consider Jackson as she inches closer to Supreme Court

NBC News

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson will inch closer to the Supreme Court on Monday when the Senate Judiciary Committee meets to review her nomination after a week of tense hearings.

The panel is not expected to vote until April 4. Then the full Senate will vote later that week, requiring a simple majority to grant Jackson, 51, a federal appeals judge, a lifetime appointment on the high court.

Despite the long odds, conservative activists haven’t given up on scuttling Jackson’s nomination or at least tilting the politics in their favor. Mike Davis, a former chief nominations counsel for Senate Republicans, said his group, the Article III Project, plans to run digital ads in West Virginia, Arizona, Georgia and other states highlighting Jackson’s sentencing record in child pornography cases.

Davis said he spotted an opening when he was going through a transcript of her remarks about the issue a decade ago when she was on the U.S. Sentencing Commission. He flagged it to Judiciary Committee Republicans, who started digging into her record as a trial judge.

Not long afterward, Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., posted a Twitter thread that turned heads. The blowback was quick, with the White House and fact checkers noting that Jackson’s sentencing practices were within the mainstream and conservative former prosecutor Andrew C. McCarthy calling Hawley’s claims “meritless to the point of demagoguery.”

Still, Davis said, voters will judge the “lenient” punishments.

“For Democrats, this confirmation went from being a political win to at best a political wash, and it could be a political loss,” he said.

Davis argued that Jackson’s confirmation would have one upside for Republicans. She wouldn’t, in his view, be able to “pick off two conservative justices and eke out liberal victories” from time to time on the 6-3 court. By contrast, he said, California Supreme Court Justice Leondra Kruger, a finalist for the nomination, whom he compared to Justice Elena Kagan, would have been more able to entice a couple of conservatives to join more moderate rulings.

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