Controversy surrounds new Supreme Court Justice’s past sentencing record


Lloyd DeGrane

Ketanji Brown Jackson gives her opening statement on the first day of her confirmation hearing.

Ketanji Brown Jackson was confirmed as the 116th Supreme Court Justice on April 7, 2022. Her confirmation is a historical moment, considering she is the first black woman to be a Supreme Court justice, but her past as a federal judge makes her an inadequate addition as a justice. 

Justice Jackson has a history of leniency on sentencing sex offenders, specifically those convicted of possesing and distributing child pornography, while being a federal judge. 

According to Ted Cruz’s review of Jackson’s record, “In every single child pornography case that she heard, Judge Jackson sentenced the defendant below the sentencing guidelines.”

Jackson’s sentences were also 57% lower than the national average for production of child porn and 47% lower for the distribution of it. 

Sex offenders ruin the lives of of their victims, and survivors of sexual assault face trauma that is hard to imagine. Seeing a judge be this lenient with convicted offenders and predators is disturbing to see. 

Additionally, Jackson is not clear about her judicial philosophy, which is the way that each judge interprets and enforces the law. 

According to The Nineteenth, Ketanji Brown Jackson said, “I do not have a judicial philosophy per se, other than to apply the same method of thorough analysis to every case, regardless of the parties.”

Though she claims to not have an upfront judicial philosophy, her actions have shown that her approach is to be soft on crime. 

Many people have only focused on the fact that she is the first black woman to be a Supreme Court Justice, and this accomplishment should not be minimized, but it is important to also look at her credentials as a judge and whether or not she will protect the rights of American citizens.  

Overall, Justice Jackson has only been confirmed for about a month, so there is still much to be seen from her; nevertheless, it is important that Americans inform themselves about the people making decisions for the country.