It’s Day Four of the confirmation hearings for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the U.S. Supreme Court. Today the senators will hear from the American Bar Association, members of Congress, associates of Judge Jackson, and the panel selected by Republicans.

You can watch on the committee’s site and on C-SPAN, or on various cable news networks. And of course, follow along here.  

Thursday, Mar 24, 2022 · 12:49:30 PM Eastern Daylight Time · Joan McCarter

Durbin closes. I’m not sure KBJ would agree with him that the proceedings have been largely respectful and civil. But anyway, we’re done. Thanks for hanging with us these last 3.5 days!

Thursday, Mar 24, 2022 · 1:10:12 PM +00:00 · Joan McCarter

We’re back. Chairman Dick Durbin gavels us back in, complimenting Judge Jackson on getting through the Republican’s vile theatrics (my words) with such poise and grace. He introduces the first panel, all from the American Bar Association: Honorable Ann Claire Williams, D. Jean Veta, Joseph M. Drayton. The ABA has unanimously rated KBJ “well qualified.”

Durbin congratulated ranking member Chuck Grassley on being decent. Thanks the “majority” of Republicans who handled themselves well, but says he’d like to say that for them across the board. Gives a special thanks for Cory Booker and his statement yesterday which “cleared the air,” and reminded everyone of the momentous thing that was happening with this hearing. 

Thursday, Mar 24, 2022 · 1:16:37 PM +00:00 · Joan McCarter

Judge Williams: introduces herself, the head of the ABA’s Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary and former federal judge. She explains that the reviews are nonpartisan peer reviews. “Brilliant,” “beyond reproach,” “impeccable,” everyone they spoke to—dozens and dozens of people with whom she has worked praised her. 

Thursday, Mar 24, 2022 · 1:21:10 PM +00:00 · Joan McCarter

Veta talks about what the ABA committee looks at— integrity, professional competence and judicial temperament. The praise for her from the lawyers and judges who have worked with her is amazing. The prosecutors they talked to vehemently rejected the notion that she is “soft on crime.” 

Thursday, Mar 24, 2022 · 1:23:55 PM +00:00 · Joan McCarter

Drayton: Again, everyone they interviewed had nothing but praise: from Sentencing Commission members: “gracious, respectful, remained calm an unemotional,” “a strong consensus-builder.” 

Thursday, Mar 24, 2022 · 1:26:05 PM +00:00 · Joan McCarter

Suffice it to say, the ABA had no problem coming up with a well-qualifed determination. It’s hard to keep up with the quotes, but all reference her brilliance, congeniality, meticulous care, ability to explain complex legal matters, work with others, leadership abilities—she is an exceptional jurist.

Thursday, Mar 24, 2022 · 1:31:07 PM +00:00 · Joan McCarter

Make that hundreds of people were interviewed, 250—I missed that. Durbin asks the panel if, as certain Republicans asserted repeatedly, was her sentencing of child sexual abuse offense cases, was out of the mainstream. Drayton said that never came up from anyone they talked to, and all of the prosecutors praised her.

If it was a real thing, Durbin said, would it have come out in the interviews. Drayton says “yes,” that would have come up and there is absolutely no evidence that this is true. It never came up in any group that they interviewed—from everybody beyond the people on Jackon’s reference list.

Thursday, Mar 24, 2022 · 1:34:14 PM +00:00 · Joan McCarter

Durbin tells Grassley that the issues that his Republicans were harping through the entirety of the hearings are absolute bunk

Thursday, Mar 24, 2022 · 1:37:19 PM +00:00 · Joan McCarter

Grassley is going to criticize the ABA as opposed to KBJ, because they keep all the names of the people they interviewed confidential. Grassley wants to see them. Williams forcefully defends keeping these interviews confidential.

Grassley wants to know why he should be assured that the ABA didn’t stack the deck for the nominee. Williams discusses the process they take to make sure that they have a broad, nonpartisan group of interviewees. 

Grassley wants to know if he could see the material in a confidential environment. They say “no,” and he seems satisfied with their reasons.

Thursday, Mar 24, 2022 · 1:39:55 PM +00:00 · Joan McCarter

Grassley asks why Barrett had a “minority” well qualified and what was different—what are the objective measurements they use.

Williams counters that Barrett was rated well qualified. Anyway, back to the matter at hand, KBJ. Williams talks about that the process of looking at written opinions, and why they look at published opinions vs unpublished.

Thursday, Mar 24, 2022 · 1:43:51 PM +00:00 · Joan McCarter

Now Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), asks more about sentencing procedures, which Judge Williams has done. He wants to know how sentencing works—who is making the harsher sentencing recommendations, etc. Asks about the recommendations U.S. Attorneys make—is that the benchmark for looking that the judge’s decision. Judge Willams says not always—it’s complicated stuff that depends on the specific case.

Thursday, Mar 24, 2022 · 1:44:22 PM +00:00 · Joan McCarter

John Cornyn (R-TX) is just going to bitch about the ABA being too liberal.

Thursday, Mar 24, 2022 · 1:49:58 PM +00:00 · Joan McCarter

Williams seems a little pissed that JC is trying to make them defend ABA activism on other issues—this is the Standing Committee and they do judges. Period. Is also a little bit pissed that he’s suggesting that they are partisan and are nicer to Democratic nominees. Hmmmm. Maybe it’s because Democratic presidents nominate more qualified people?

Thursday, Mar 24, 2022 · 1:57:06 PM +00:00 · Joan McCarter

Now Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), is there anything to the GOP accusations that she has a political agenda? Williams, “nothing that’s come to our attention to change our well qualified rating.”

Klob references her own experience as a prosecutor, backs up the ABA’s review process to counter Cornyn. Brings up the fact that KBJ has just a 3% reversal rate, and is that something they look at. Williams says yes, they look at that. Drayton speaks to specific cases where she was reversed—they were cases where there wasn’t precedent, where she was breaking ground.

Thursday, Mar 24, 2022 · 2:00:33 PM +00:00 · Joan McCarter

Looks like Grassley and Cornyn are the only Rs there, but I can’t see the entirety of the dais. Now Democrat Blumenthal is up. He’s finds it “amazing” that nobody has a bad thing to say about KBJ? Is that impression correct? Drayton, yep. Unanimously, the bar appreciates KBJ. Williams—we talked to lawyers and judges across the country, and what was remarkable was that they were unanimously in saying that everyone gets a fair shake from her.

Thursday, Mar 24, 2022 · 2:02:30 PM +00:00 · Joan McCarter

Blumenthal: is this whole “judicial philosophy” thing kind of bs? Williams, yeah, it pretty much is.

Thursday, Mar 24, 2022 · 2:07:02 PM +00:00 · Joan McCarter

Now Democrat Jon Ossoff. Unless Blackburn is there, no other Rs showed. He goes through the process they conducted, asks about their conclusions as to KBJ’s integrity. Williams says across the board she was lauded as exemplary. Ossoff reestablishes that they are completely nonpartisan in the process. He’s doing the cleanup here, just reiterating how the process works and that they did it without bias and that, yeah, KBJ is unanimously viewed as an exceptional jurist.

Thursday, Mar 24, 2022 · 2:10:01 PM +00:00 · Joan McCarter

Whitehouse again. (Blackburn might try to join virtually.) Whitehouse asks Williams if she’s familiar with “asked an answered” a thing in trials. Of course he knows that.

Thursday, Mar 24, 2022 · 2:12:01 PM +00:00 · Joan McCarter

Blackburn isn’t going to show. Last panel is outside witnesses, half picked by the majority, half minority. 

Thursday, Mar 24, 2022 · 2:16:07 PM +00:00 · Joan McCarter

Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-OH) chair of Congressional Black Caucus celebrates this nominee for what she represents, but tells the committee that put aside the fact that KBJ’s a Black woman—she’s profoundly qualified for the job. 

Thursday, Mar 24, 2022 · 2:22:33 PM +00:00 · Joan McCarter

First minority witness is Steve Marshall, Alabama Attorney General and he’s about as awful as you would expect. All soft on crime.

Thursday, Mar 24, 2022 · 2:25:08 PM +00:00 · Joan McCarter

The remainder of this hearing is going to be pretty performative, I imagine. The majority witnesses will talk about how remarkable KBJ is, and what an historic this opportunity will be, the minority witnesses will dogwhistle “soft on crime.”

Thursday, Mar 24, 2022 · 2:27:39 PM +00:00 · Joan McCarter

If you didn’t have the opportunity to see Sen. Cory Booker save the day yesterday, take the time to do it now, via Laura Clawson’s newest post. 

Thursday, Mar 24, 2022 · 2:36:04 PM +00:00 · Joan McCarter

Did anybody catch anything Jennifer Mascott just said? What was the point of having her (Assistant Professor of Law & Co-Executive Director The C. Boyden Gray Center for the Study of the Administrative State, Antonin Scalia Law School, George Mason University) beyond her being a woman? That was the least compelling testimony I think I’ve ever watched in one of these.

Thursday, Mar 24, 2022 · 2:42:50 PM +00:00 · Joan McCarter

Man, the contrast here in witnesses is just so striking. Sort of like the contrast between KBJ and the likes of Graham, Cruz, and Hawley: exceptional people of color talking about the things that matter vs. these white people doing their performative schtick. Having the forced birther lady, in the form of a seemingly kindly grandma, is really kind of nauseating.

Thursday, Mar 24, 2022 · 2:44:54 PM +00:00 · Joan McCarter


Thursday, Mar 24, 2022 · 2:53:48 PM +00:00 · Joan McCarter

We all deserve a best male friend in high school, and for life, like Richard B. Rosenthal. 

Thursday, Mar 24, 2022 · 2:57:16 PM +00:00 · Joan McCarter

Ted Cruz has shown up. Blech. The current R witness, Keisha Russell, is from First Liberty, one of the vast network of dark money right-wing groups. She’s Black, and is thus there to talk about the tyranny of CRT.

Thursday, Mar 24, 2022 · 3:03:27 PM +00:00 · Joan McCarter

Once again, the contrast between majority and minority witnesses and their caliber and expertise and relevance is just so striking. Now we have Captain Frederick Thomas, National President of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE). 

Thursday, Mar 24, 2022 · 3:06:35 PM +00:00 · Joan McCarter

Last witness is, of course, doing the child exploitation angle. 

Thursday, Mar 24, 2022 · 3:15:30 PM +00:00 · Joan McCarter

Durbin once again reiterating that the attacks on KBJ about being a friend to pedophiles and a “danger to children”—Hawley actually said that—are total bullshit. He needs to have a sit down with the Democrats on his committee to get them to stop running off to talk to gossip columnists in D.C. 

Thursday, Mar 24, 2022 · 3:20:58 PM +00:00 · Joan McCarter

Grassley phoning it in getting the R witnesses to blather on about the stuff that has been debunked every single hour of these hearings.

Thursday, Mar 24, 2022 · 3:24:59 PM +00:00 · Joan McCarter

Whitehouse using his opportunity to grill Marshall about the GOP states AGs running robocalls to get people to come to riot on Jan. 6. Good for him.

Thursday, Mar 24, 2022 · 3:27:56 PM +00:00 · Joan McCarter

Wow, Marshall refuses to say that President Biden is the “duly elected and lawful president of the U.S.” in answer to Whitehouse’s repeated pushing. He will only say “he is the president.” I could be wrong, but I’ve sat through every hour of this, and I think that’s the only time Jan 6 has come up this specifically.

Thursday, Mar 24, 2022 · 3:32:25 PM +00:00 · Joan McCarter

This is what Whitehouse was asking Marshall about—the RGAs involvement in Jan 6 organizing. Marshall leads the association’s dark-money fundraising arm.

Thursday, Mar 24, 2022 · 3:51:45 PM +00:00 · Joan McCarter

Rep. Beatty leaning hard on Senate to finally pass voting rights legislation. Manchin and Sinema are not in the room, unfortunately. 

Thursday, Mar 24, 2022 · 3:54:48 PM +00:00 · Joan McCarter

I am fed up to here with Republicans here on day 4. That is all.

Thursday, Mar 24, 2022 · 4:03:27 PM +00:00 · Joan McCarter

Durbin strongly knocking down Blackburn’s request to the get the confidential documents that would reveal the names of child victims. Blackburn trying to say that Dems have seen them—that’s a flat out lie. No one outside of the officials involved in those criminal hearings, have seen them. Blackburn is being incredibly obnoxious here. Because she’s the R in the room.

Thursday, Mar 24, 2022 · 4:09:59 PM +00:00 · Joan McCarter

Booker, again, did a good job of helping shut Blackburn down about the precedent they would be setting if they allowed that sealed, confidential, incredibly sensitive information get into the hands of politicians. And what might happen to a potential Republican nominee.

Thursday, Mar 24, 2022 · 4:13:37 PM +00:00 · Joan McCarter

Ugh. Cruz. I was really hoping he wouldn’t show. Wishful thinking.

Thursday, Mar 24, 2022 · 4:26:37 PM +00:00 · Joan McCarter

Hawley now and I just don’t know if I can do this again.

Thursday, Mar 24, 2022 · 4:29:25 PM +00:00 · Joan McCarter

The degree to which Hawley in particular loves to delve into the sexual abuse of children is deeply, deeply disturbing.

Thursday, Mar 24, 2022 · 4:34:31 PM +00:00 · Joan McCarter

Hirono was supposed to have gone before Booker. She’s there now. Thank goodness we have people like her and Booker to clean up after the likes of Blackburn and Hawley. It’s important that the true evil in the committee is balanced by them. 

Thursday, Mar 24, 2022 · 4:44:35 PM +00:00 · Joan McCarter

Sen. Padilla rebutting the bullshit, and asking Rep. Beatty to join him in doing so.

Thursday, Mar 24, 2022 · 4:49:30 PM +00:00 · Joan McCarter

Durbin closes. I’m not sure KBJ would agree with him that the proceedings have been largely respectful and civil. But anyway, we’re done. Thanks for hanging with us these last 3.5 days!

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