Senate

Manchin: GOP treatment of Jackson ‘disgraceful,’ ’embarrassing’

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) addresses reporters during a press conference on Thursday, March 3, 2022 to introduce the Banning Russian Energy Imports Act.
Greg Nash

Centrist Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said the way Republican senators treated Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson at last week’s hearings was “disgraceful” and “embarrassing” after they repeatedly brought up her record of sentencing child pornography offenders.  

Manchin said the behavior of GOP colleagues who repeatedly cut off Jackson while she tried to answer their questions about her sentencing decision crossed the line to become inappropriate.  

“It was disgraceful, it really was, what I saw. And I met with her and I read all the transcripts. I listened to basically the hearings and it just was embarrassing,” he told reporters Tuesday morning.  

“It’s not who we are. It’s not what we were sent here to do, to attack other people and just try to tear them down. I won’t be part of that. I think she’s extremely well qualified and I think she’ll be an exemplary judge,” he added.  

Manchin’s comments appeared to refer to the aggressive treatment of Jackson by Republican senators on the Judiciary Committee, including Sens. Ted Cruz (Texas) and Josh Hawley (Mo.), who are both angling for potential White House bids in 2024.  

Cruz and Hawley repeatedly asked Jackson to explain her sentencing decisions in seven child pornography cases in which she gave convicted offenders less time in prison than what prosecutors demanded.  

At one point during the second day of questions, Jackson appeared exasperated when Hawley asked her to comment on the disturbing details of a case after she had already explained her sentencing rationale several times.  

“What I regret is that in a hearing about my qualifications to be a justice on the Supreme Court, we’ve spent a lot of time focusing on this small subset of my sentences,” she told Hawley after he repeatedly pressed her over whether she regretted one particular sentence.  

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) told reporters Tuesday that he thought that “four or five” Republican senators on the committee treated the nominee disrespectfully, despite their pledge to hold a “dignified” process.

“This notion of asking the toughest and meanest questions and then race to Twitter to see if somebody is tweeting it, I mean, that’s as bad as playing to the cameras on the worst day,” he said.  

–Updated at 11:34 a.m.

Tags Dick Durbin Joe Manchin Josh Hawley Ketanji Brown Jackson Ketanji Brown Jackson nomination Supreme Court Ted Cruz

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