Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) released the following statement in support of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s Supreme Court nomination:
“I have had the privilege of serving in this body for nearly three decades now. In that time, I have participated in the confirmation hearings of 10 Supreme Court justices and hundreds of nominees to our federal circuit and district courts.
I have carefully scrutinized Judge Jackson’s record and listened very closely to her testimony. In my view, Judge Jackson is both well qualified and extremely prepared to take on the important role of serving on the United States Supreme Court.
Judge Jackson is a graduate of both Harvard University and Harvard Law School, a former Supreme Court clerk, a former federal public defender and a former U.S. sentencing commissioner. On top of that, Judge Jackson has served as a federal judge for nearly a decade.
Judge Jackson would be the first federal public defender to sit on the Supreme Court, and the first Justice since Thurgood Marshall with significant experience representing low-income defendants in criminal cases.
As a former public defender, Judge Jackson truly understands the power of our constitutional rights, including the Sixth Amendment right to counsel and the Fifth Amendment right to due process.
Judge Jackson would also join Justice Sotomayor as the only former federal district court judges serving on the Supreme Court.
What has impressed me most about Judge Jackson does not appear on her resume. That is Judge Jackson’s steadfast commitment to the fair and impartial application of the law, her deep knowledge of the U.S. Constitution and her remarkable judicial temperament.
These qualities were demonstrated in her testimony before the Judiciary Committee earlier this month. They were also shown in the letters and testimony of the many people – of all ideological viewpoints – who have supported Judge Jackson’s nomination.
First, Judge Jackson’s respect for the law and the Constitution are clear from the nearly 600 legal opinions she has drafted as a federal judge. Her legal opinions are clear and detailed.
As she explained during her confirmation hearings, Judge Jackson carefully and fairly applies the law to the specific facts of each case. And Judge Jackson takes the time to explain why she reached each decision.
In my view, it is important that the decisions of the Supreme Court are accessible to the American people. Judge Jackson’s approach to judicial decision-making will help to ensure transparency in her judging and help to restore the public’s confidence in the decisions of the Supreme Court.
Second, Judge Jackson clearly has deep legal knowledge. During her more than 20 hours of testimony before the Judiciary Committee, she spoke with skill on a wide range of topics. She addressed legal issues of all kinds, including separation of powers, the First Amendment, administrative law, criminal sentencing and much more.
I believe Judge Jackson has the knowledge and expertise to decide the most difficult and pressing legal issues facing this nation.
Finally, during her hearings, Judge Jackson also showed that she has a remarkable temperament.
Lawyers and judges who have worked with her, or appeared before her, have confirmed that Judge Jackson brings this temperament with her in all aspects of her work. They have told the Senate that she is as collegial, calm and steadfast as she appeared to be during her hearings.
For example, Judge Thomas Griffith testified in support of Judge Jackson’s nomination and focused on her character and temperament, in addition to her exceptional qualifications. Judge Griffith is a retired judge of the D.C. Circuit and was appointed to the bench by President George W. Bush.
Judge Griffith said that Judge Jackson has modeled the ideal qualities of a judge, including diligence, carefulness, high character, deep legal knowledge and broad experience.
Witnesses from the American Bar Association also testified about Judge Jackson’s sterling reputation for integrity. Those witnesses interviewed lawyers and judges who have known and worked with Judge Jackson at various points over the course of her career.
And, in those interviews, lawyers and judges who were familiar with Judge Jackson uniformly praised her character. They called her ‘first rate,’ ‘impeccable,’ and ‘beyond reproach.’
One comment said: ‘You write the word ‘integrity,’ and then you put her initials next to it.’
The American Bar Association’s interviews also revealed that prosecutors and defense attorneys alike regard Judge Jackson as fair, balanced, and unbiased.
She is precisely the kind of justice we need on the Supreme Court. Judge Jackson is plainly up to the task of faithfully interpreting our Constitution and our laws, and fairly applying the law in each and every case.
Judge Jackson laid out in simple terms the three-part methodology she uses in each case to ensure that her decisions are informed by the arguments of the parties, the facts and the law, and not by any personal views she may hold.
Judge Jackson’s thoughtful methodology shows that she appreciates how important it is for judges to approach each and every case with an open mind and to avoid both actual and perceived conflicts of interest.
I believe Judge Jackson is an extraordinary person. Her rich family history in law enforcement and her background as a federal public defender, a member of the U.S. Sentencing Commission, a trial judge and an appellate judge will benefit our Supreme Court.
It will be my great pleasure to vote to confirm Judge Jackson to be an associate justice on the Supreme Court. And I hope that my colleagues on both sides of the aisle will do the same.”