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Durbin: Clarity & Impartiality, That Is Judge Jackson

WASHINGTON – In a speech on the Senate floor, U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today commended Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, President Biden’s nominee to the Supreme Court, for her clear and thorough explanation of her approach to judicial decision-making during last week’s Judiciary Committee nomination hearings.

“Clarity and impartiality, that is Judge Jackson.  During the hearing, several of my colleagues asked her to describe her judicial philosophy… She gave us a thorough step-by-step explanation about how she decided a case, every case.  And she has some 580 separate written opinions.  You don’t need an electron microscope to find this Judge’s judicial philosophy.  She’s written it down and published it over and over and over again,” Durbin said.  “She sets aside her personal views, evaluates the facts, listens to the arguments, then she interprets and applies the law, keeping in mind the limits of judicial authority.  What I’ve just described is what she told the Committee and it’s exactly what we look for and should look for in every judge.  I can’t recall ever hearing a nominee give such a clear and thorough explanation of their approach to deciding a case, and Judge Jackson’s evenhanded record on so many different issues – criminal law, labor relations, Executive power – shows that it works.”

Durbin also highlighted the American Bar Association’s glowing testimony for Judge Jackson during the final day of last week’s nomination hearings.  Earlier this month, the ABA rated Judge Jackson unanimously “Well Qualified” to serve on the Supreme Court—ABA’s highest possible rating.

“On the final day of the hearing, the Committee heard from [Judge] Ann Williams.  Ann Williams is well-known to the presiding officer as well as myself.  She served as a District Court Judge in the Northern District of Illinois and then as a Circuit Judge on the Seventh Circuit,” Durbin said.  “She [Williams] came to report to the Committee that Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, who had been reviewed with careful, personal interviews of 250 separate individuals in her legal career, had emerged unanimously ‘Well Qualified’ to serve on the Supreme Court.  Judge Williams said that in interviewing these lawyers and judges, they asked the hard questions, the ones that you can ask in confidence and in private, and the answers were all the same. Judge Jackson has a career that has distinguished her as outstanding, excellent, superior, superb.  The list of accolades went on and on.  The ABA found that Judge Jackson has a sterling reputation for thoughtfulness, collegiality, and has exceptional competence.” 

Durbin continued, “I also asked Judge Williams, serving as a spokesperson for the ABA, to comment on the allegations that Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson is somehow ‘soft on crime.’  It’s a common mantra coming from the other side of the aisle.  And I said, in the course of asking 250 different judges, prosecutors, defense lawyers, and all the people who worked with and around her, was there any evidence that she was ‘soft on crime?’  No, none.  None.  That’s amazing when you think that’s the number one talking point against her from the Republican side of the aisle.”

Durbin concluded, “I strongly urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to take a look at this woman and what she will bring to the Court… She is the best and deserves our support.”

Video of Durbin’s floor speech is available here.

Audio of Durbin’s floor speech is available here.

Footage of Durbin’s floor speech is available here for TV Stations.