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HomeVideoWATCH: Jackson says civil juries allow citizens to ‘participate in governance’

WATCH: Jackson says civil juries allow citizens to ‘participate in governance’

On the second day of the Judiciary Committee’s confirmation hearings for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., asked the Supreme Court nominee if there is more to the civil jury than its role as a fact-finding appendage of the trial judge.

Whitehouse also asked whether the civil jury “belongs in our constitutional structure as a part of the responsible self-governance that was established by the Constitution.” Jackson responded affirmatively, adding that the civil jury is a “mechanism by which citizens can participate in governance.”

“They can be called upon by the court to sit in judgment of other people in the community, and it was something that was a part of the democratic vision of the founders from the very beginning,” Jackson said. She also detailed the process of jury selection, and underscored the importance of screening to select unbiased jurors.

Whitehouse said that he believes the Supreme Court has been on a campaign to “deprecate and diminish the civil jury,” including by allowing big corporations to require employees to waive their right to a jury as stipulated within their employment contracts. He argued that dynamic has created “a dramatic shift in power toward big corporations” while harming “innumerable employees and customers.” Whitehouse added that he was pleased with Jackson’s remarks on the subject.

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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