Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., asked Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson about her experience representing detainees at Guantanamo Bay during her Supreme Court confirmation hearing on March 22.
Jackson noted that she had been working as an assistant federal public defender and in 2004 the Supreme Court ruled that detainees could file challenges to their detentions. Jackson said that as an appellate lawyer, she focused almost exclusively on the law and not on the details of the case.
“The law was very uncertain. This was brand new. And people were trying to figure out what are the limits of executive authority in this context?” Jackson said. “We knew that the Constitution was not suspended even though we had this emergency, so what did that mean with respect to these individuals?”
Jackson said that in her private practice she again represented one of the individuals who had been assigned to her firm as a pro bono case.
Jackson was nominated by President Joe Biden in February to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer. If confirmed, she will be the first Black woman on the high court. After opening statements from Jackson, her colleagues and the senators March 21, senators will spend two days questioning Jackson at length about her rulings and judicial philosophy. On the final day of the hearings March 24, the Senate Judiciary Committee will hear from friends and colleagues of Jackson about her temperament and approach to the law.
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