The US Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday concluded the four-day hearings regarding the Supreme Court nomination for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, who was nominated by President Biden to replace Associate Justice Steven Breyer.
The final day of the hearings began with Senate Chair Richard Durbin swearing in witness evaluation testimony from the American Bar Association (ABA). This testimony was provided by Judge Ann Claire Williams, Joseph Drayton, and Jane Veta.
Judge Ann Claire Williams is the Chair of the ABA Standing Committee which spearheaded the witness evaluation testimonies. Williams stated that Jackson received unanimous approval from the ABA Standing Committee, which conducts non-partisan peer review evaluations.
Williams described Jackson as “well qualified” and endorsed Jackson’s nomination. Williams went on to state that, “in order to receive well qualified status, one must be a preeminent member of the legal profession, have outstanding legal ability, have exceptional breath of experience, and meet the very highest standards of integrity, professional competence and judicial temperament.”
DC Circuit Representative and Co-Lead Evaluator Jane Veta then provided witness evaluation testimony on integrity, professional competence, and judicial temperament. Integrity was described as character and reputation within the legal profession. Professional competence was described as a high degree of legal scholarship, strong analytical and writing abilities, and overall excellence. Judicial temperament was described as compassion, decisiveness, open-mindedness, freedom from bias, and commitment to equal justice under the law.
Veta most vehemently stated that, “no judge, defense counsel, or prosecutor expressed any concern in this regard, and they uniformly rejected any accusations of bias.” In sum, Jackson was provided with “well qualified” status from the Standing Committee of the ABA.
Lead Evaluator Joseph Drayton then provided insight on Jackson’s writings and contributions to shaping the law. Jackson received a rating of “well qualified” in this category as well. Drayton stated that
various groups of judges, legal professionals and scholars confirmed that Judge Jackson has the ability, as required by our standard of a Supreme Court nominee, to communicate clearly, persuasively, in a manner that harmonizes bodies of law and to give guidance to lower courts in the legal community and has done so across a significant range of complex issues.
In sum, the ABA deemed all accusations of Jackson being “soft on crime” as unfounded. The Senate Judicial Committee is expected to vote on April 4 for the nomination of Jackson, who currently sits on the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
Jackson could be confirmed by the Senate without any Republican support in the evenly divided chamber, with Vice President Harris casting a deciding vote. If confirmed, Jackson will serve as the first African-American woman on the Supreme Court.