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HomeVideoWATCH: Sen. Leahy pushes back against ‘overheated claims’ over Jackson’s public defense...

WATCH: Sen. Leahy pushes back against ‘overheated claims’ over Jackson’s public defense work

Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., called Republican arguments about Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s public defense work “overheated claims,” including her representation of Guantanamo Bay detainees.

“Every single member on this committee, especially those of us who have been assigned as counsel in cases, should know better than to complain [about] a nominee’s past representation or their policy positions, or to argue that a nominee espoused their client’s viewpoint simply by choosing to represent them,” Leahy said, as the Senate Judiciary Committee continued its Supreme Court confirmation hearings March 23.

Leahy then asked Jackson why it was necessary to provide legal defense, especially when in “uncharted, legal and constitutional waters.”

“I need to consider all of the arguments related to the dispute that is being brought in my courtroom,” Jackson said. “I need to hear from not only the parties who are prosecuting a case, – for example, a crime – but also from the defense. And some of these crimes are terrible crimes,” Jackson said.

“Our constitution is designed to ensure that the government affords due process to people who are being accused of crimes. And one might think it’s even more important, in a way, in a case in which someone is so reviled,” she said.

Wednesday was the Senate committee’s final day to question Jackson, who 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. 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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