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Sen. Josh Hawley said on Monday Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson qualified to serve on the Supreme Court, but said he would vote against her for her allegedly lenient sentences in child pornography cases.
“I like her. I think she’s a good person. But I can’t support her,” Hawley told R-Mo on Monday.
“My fundamental disagreement with Judge Jackson is not based on her character, her integrity or her accomplishments. I think those things are indisputable,” Hawley also said. “It’s based on his politics and his philosophy.”
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Hawley was the first Republican to publicly raise questions about Jackson’s history in sentencing child porn offenders. And he was among the most vocal Republicans in the Senate hearings for Jackson, attacking him for allegedly lenient treatment of child porn offenders and other criminals.
The GOP senator’s backlash against Jackson doesn’t appear to have changed any of his fellow Democrats — Jackson will likely be confirmed later this week. But they have united nearly all Republicans against Jackson and will likely serve as election year fodder as November approaches.
“His consistent political position is that federal sentencing guidelines are outdated, they’re outdated, they’re too harsh, and criminals in general are being given excessive sentences,” Hawley said of Jackson Monday. “She says she disagrees in principle when it comes to these child porn cases that criminals should get heavier sentences based on how many problems they have. “
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Hawley detailed some of the instances in which he said Jackson treated criminals too leniently. And he alleged that all of Jackson sentences these felons to more lenient sentences than the national average.
“Judge Jackson’s view is that we should treat everyone more leniently because more and more people are committing child sex offenses that are getting worse and worse,” Hawley said. “I would say the exact opposite, that’s what we should be doing. If more people commit worse sexual offenses against children, if there are more images, if the images are more graphic and exploitative, in the nature – then more people should be spending more time behind bars.”
Hawley also launched a campaign against Democrats and left-leaning media who said his attacks on Jackson were fueling conspiracy theories.
“Let me say for the record: Child sex crimes are not fiction. They are not a conspiracy. There are 85 million images of exploited children available on the internet,” he said. -he declares. “Child pornography creates a cycle of trafficking, exploitation, abuse. It is the children who are the victims, not the criminals.”
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Democrats, however, said Hawley’s attacks on Jackson are not based in reality. Sen. Cory Booker, DN.J., pointed to testimony from the American Bar Association during Jackson’s hearing on Monday. His experts said they found no evidence that Jackson was soft on the crime.
The Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to vote on Jackson’s nomination later Monday afternoon when Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Calif., arrives in Washington. Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said Padilla’s flight from Los Angeles was forced to return due to a medical emergency for a passenger and the vote would take place once the senator will arrive at the Capitol, likely later on Monday.
That vote is expected to hang on 11-11 party lines in the equally divided committee. That will force Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., to call a Senate vote on a “discharge motion” to secure the Senate nomination.
The vote was originally due to take place on Monday, it is unclear whether it could be delayed due to Padilla’s situation. When that vote takes place, it will likely reveal exactly how much bipartisan support Jackson could get.
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Senator Susan Collins, R-Maine, has already said she will vote for Jackson. But the Senses. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, and Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, have yet to take a position.
Jackson’s final confirmation vote is expected to take place Thursday or Friday.
Fox News’ Chad Pergram contributed to this report.
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