White House defends SCOTUS nominee from GOP criticism on sex offense sentencing, Guantanamo work

On Thursday, the White House looked to fight back against a pointed attack on President Joe Biden’s Supreme Court nominee by the Republican senator who headed the effort in the Senate to overturn Biden’s election.

Sen. Josh Hawley, a Republican from Missouri, posted a Twitter thread on Wednesday evening that depicted federal appeals Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson as taking an approach that was too soft on child pornography cases while she was a federal district judge from 2013 to 2021.

In his Twitter thread, Hawley highlighted seven sex offense cases in which he claimed Jackson gave out sentences that fell below federal sentencing guidelines.

“This is a disturbing record for any judge, but especially one nominated to the highest court in the land. Protecting the most vulnerable shouldn’t be up for debate. Sending child predators to jail shouldn’t be controversial,” Hawley tweeted on Wednesday evening. 

Hawley’s criticism of Jackson could potentially throw off what had previously been a mostly cordial confirmation process just days prior to Jackson’s nationally televised hearings, which are set to begin on Monday.

Hawley has voted against more of Biden’s nominees than any other senator, but he has never been a crucial swing vote needed by the White House to secure Jackson’s confirmation. Still, as a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Hawley will be one of the 11 Republicans with an opportunity to press her on her record. 

The White House at first did not comment on Hawley’s Twitter thread on Wednesday evening, but by Thursday afternoon, White House press secretary Jen Psaki went after the Missouri Republican by name for causing bringing forward what she noted as “faulty accusations” about Jackson’s record.

“Attempts to smear and discredit her history and her work are not borne out in fact,” Psaki said. She added that in “the vast majority of cases involving child sex crimes, the sentences Judge Jackson imposed were consistent with or above what the government or U.S. Probation recommended.” 




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