After consideration and a deadlocked vote from members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, the United States Senate voted to advance Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson's nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court. With support pledged from three Republican Senators, Jackson's confirmation is virtually inevitable, setting the stage for her to become the first Black woman Supreme Court Justice.
Predictably, conservatives' questions and comments regarding Judge Jackson have ranged from nonsensical to outright combative. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina asked Jackson invasive questions about her faith. Far-right Senator Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee demanded Jackson define the term "woman." Other Senators falsely accused her of being soft on pedophiles.
And though Jackson has been confirmed on a bipartisan basis by the U.S. Senate multiple times, the Senate debate ahead of an impending floor vote remains chock full of conservative vitriol.
One particularly vicious comment came from far-right Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas, who claimed Judge Jackson would've defended the Nazi Party leaders who were tried at Nuremberg beginning in 1945.
“The last Judge Jackson left the Supreme Court to go to Nuremberg and prosecute the case against the Nazis. This Judge Jackson might have gone there to defend them.”
The quip was an apparent allusion to Judge Jackson's time as a public defender, which included some work on behalf of a group of men detained at Guantanamo Bay, accused of terrorism. Because, in the United States of America, anyone accused of a crime is entitled to legal representation, Jackson often had to represent clients that no private lawyer would've taken on.
What's more, Justice Robert H. Jackson—the man to whom Cotton alluded, who left the Supreme Court to serve as chief U.S. prosecutor in the Nuremberg Trials, knew the value of public defenders. When drafting the London Agreement—the documents establishing the authority and rules of the trials—Jackson and his colleagues determined that even the Nazis had a right to counsel.
Meanwhile, Cotton's brutality is nothing new. He's asserted that the United States—which has the largest number of prisoners and the highest worldwide incarceration—has an "under-incarceration problem." He's called slavery a "necessary evil."
People took the Senator's latest comments as further confirmation of his character, or lack thereof.
Others pointed out the nuances and necessity of due process.
A final floor vote on Jackson's nomination is expected this week.