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GOP Lacks Cohesion on Jackson; Hawley Cites Sex Case 'Leniency'

In 2020, when Amy Coney Barrett was facing Supreme Court confirmation, Democratic senators used a consistent line of attack: she would be a threat to health care and the Affordable Care Act. For Senate Republicans set to question Ketanji Brown Jackson next week, the message is not nearly so cohesive, if there is a message at all, reports the Washington Post. Republicans have struggled to land an attack on Jackson, who the Senate GOP leader has said will probably be confirmed. Interviews with Republican senators, aides and advisers involved in the nomination fight make it clear that Republicans are pursuing their own individual strategies, with no overarching theme. “I think everybody will sort of pursue the line of questioning that they care most about,” said Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), a senior member of the Judiciary Committee. Some GOP senators have targeted Jackson’s representation of criminal defendants when she was a public defender, but that line of attack has made other Republicans uncomfortable. “I’m not going to criticize her for any client she’s represented. We’ve all represented clients that we didn’t agree with and in some cases, didn’t even like,” said Sen. John Neely Kennedy (R-LA). “But everybody has the right to counsel.” Some GOP officials argue that spending significant time and effort going after the first Black woman to be nominated to the Supreme Court is not worthwhile politically, and that it makes far more sense to focus on pocketbook issues ahead of the midterms. At least three potential GOP presidential nominees — Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas, Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Josh Hawley of Missouri may use the opportunity to generate enthusiasm among the Republican base by taking more of a scorched-earth approach. Hawley this week criticized Jackson for an "alarming sentencing leniency for sex criminals.” He said Jackson, as a trial judge, had deviated from federal sentencing guidelines to favor the defendant in “every single child porn case for which we can find records.”


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