The second and third days of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s Senate confirmation hearings, in which the justice was questioned at length by members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, followed a modern tradition for Democratic nominees of trying to sound very different from the card-carrying members of the Supreme Court’s liberal bloc that they turn out to be once confirmed.
Many of the questions this week focused on Jackson’s judicial philosophy. That is appropriate, because the topic goes to the definition of what kind of justice she would be. And it is a problematical area, because Jackson had said last year, while a D.C. Circuit Court nominee, that she did “not have a judicial philosophy per se.”
This time, she gave an array of varying answers to the judicial philosophy questions. Interestingly, she included all the right buzzwords for mainstream appeal. She spoke about how judges have limited power and need to stay in their lane. She rejected the notion of “a living Constitution in the sense that it’s changing and it’s infused with my own policy perspective” and endorsed looking at the original public meaning of text—all while denying she is an originalist.
But talk is cheap. As I have earlier pointed out here, Jackson’s record, including her advocacy for terrorists, softness on crime, upholding racial preferences, hostility toward pro-lifers, and reversed decisions involving Trump-era policies, shows otherwise.