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Senators prepare their questions as they consider historic Supreme Court nominee

The Senate will question Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson on Tuesday and Wednesday before she will be approved for the lifetime position of Supreme Court Justice.
Published: Mar. 21, 2022 at 1:58 PM EDT
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - The nomination hearings for President Joe Biden’s Supreme Court pick are underway in the Senate. Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson and senators on the Judiciary Committee gave their opening statements Monday, and Tuesday the questioning begins.

It is a crucial moment in history for Judge Jackson and the senators on the committee, who are considering a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court. Some of the committee members, such as Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), have gone through this process many times in the past.

“I expect this one to be fairly conventional. First of all, this doesn’t really change the balance of the court,” said Cornyn.

This is Cornyn’s eighth Supreme Court confirmation process. The former lawyer and judge said a lifetime of preparation helps him in these hearings. Cornyn said he plans to direct his 50 minutes of questioning toward Jackson’s judicial philosophy.

“Is she going to be a politician wearing black robes and making policy pronouncements? Those aren’t really appropriate to the judiciary and I’d like to hear her make a commitment,” said Cornyn.

Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) has sat through four nomination hearings. She thinks Judge Jackson is the most qualified nominee she’s questioned. Part of Hirono’s job during the hearings, she said, is to highlight those qualifications.

“At the same time, I’m preparing for the need to rebut whatever the Republicans will lodge,” said Hirono.

Hirono said the hearings require preparation unlike any other because of the gravity of the position and the length of questioning. With serious issues currently before the court, like abortion rights and voting rights, Hirono argues these nominees are as consequential as ever.

“It’s very clear from the hundreds and hundreds of decisions that she’s written, she’s very fair-minded and she does not have an ideological axe to grind,” said Hirono.

The questioning from the senators begins Tuesday morning at 9 a.m. ET and will last through the day Wednesday.

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