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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 2:00 AM, Mar 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-21 08:24:40-04

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson will begin Monday at the U.S. Capitol.

If confirmed, she will make history as the first Black female justice on the high 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 2021, 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-Illinois, will lead the questioning for Democrats. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, will lead the questioning for Republicans.

Some of the toughest questions will likely come from the following Republicans on the Judiciary Committee: Sens. Lindsey Graham, John Cornyn, Mike Lee, Josh Hawley, Ted Cruz, Marsha Blackburn, John Kennedy and 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 nomination to be confirmed.

Moderate Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin and 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. While she hasn't issued many rulings on the issue, Democrats assume she supports abortion rights.

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. Borke was an academic with a very public and controversial record. Jackson's past is far less polarizing.

Editor's note: A previous version of this story mistakenly noted that Jackson was appointed to the appellate court in 2013.