Friday, September 30, 2022

WATCH: Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson defends work as an attorney for Guantanamo Bay prisoners

South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham grilled Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson Tuesday on her position as a defense attorney for Guantanamo Bay prisoners.

Watch the moment in the player above.

Jackson represented by four Guantanamo Bay detainees, first as a public defender and later in private practice.

“Federal public defenders don’t get to pick their clients … It’s a service … You are standing up for the constitutional value of representation,” she said.

Graham also suggested that “left-wing radical groups” had favored Jackson’s nomination over another contender, Judge Michelle Childs. Committee chair Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill, noted after Graham’s questioning that Rep. Jim Clyburn, DS.C., who strongly supported Childs’ nomination, has since publicly voiced his support for Jackson.

As Graham wrapped up his remarks, the Republican senator went on a tirade about the 39 Guantanamo detainees remaining in US custody, saying, “as long as they’re dangerous, I hope they all die in jail if they’re going to go back and kill Americans. It won’t bother me one bit if 39 of them die in prison. That’s a better outcome to let them go.”

WATCH LIVE: Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson Supreme Court confirmation hearings — Day 2

Jackson also appeared taken aback during further questioning on her detainee work from Texas Sen. John Cornyn, who asked why she would have called former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and former President George W. Bush “war criminals” in a legal filing. “It seems so out of character for you,” Cornyn said.

Jackson said she didn’t remember “that particular reference,” but that she would look into it. After a break, Durbin noted – and Jackson confirmed – that she had filed petitions that made a variety of claims arguing for the release of Guantanamo detainees, including that the treatment of the detainees constituted torture and violated federal law. The petitions show she never referred to anyone as a war criminal, but she did argue that torture amounted to a war crime under the law and that the federal government, including Bush and Rumsfeld, was ultimately responsible.

Tuesday’s hearing was the first of two days of questioning after Jackson and the 22 members of the committee gave opening statements on Monday. On Thursday, the committee will hear from legal experts before an eventual vote to move her nomination to the Senate floor.

More on Jackson’s Supreme Court confirmation hearings from our coverage:

Nation World News Desk
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