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Some GOP Senators Blame Judge Nominees For Rise in Crime

At the close of Nina Morrison’s confirmation hearing for a federal judgeship, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) asked, “Does ‘tough on crime’ include convicting the innocent?” “No, Senator, it does not,” replied Morrison, who has been nominated for a judgeship on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. The rest of the hearing indicated otherwise. Morrison, who has dedicated her career to the Innocence Project, and helped free dozens of people who were wrongly convicted, found herself being blamed by Republican senators for a rise in crime. The fact that the Innocence Project’s work is exonerating those who did not commit the crime they were convicted of didn’t matter, The Atlantic reports. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) told Morrison that the rise in crime was “the direct result of the policies you’ve spent your entire lifetime advancing.” Missouri’s Senator Josh Hawley said, “I will oppose you and anyone else the administration sends to us who do not understand the necessity of the rule of law.” Hawley’s definition of the “rule of law” apparently includes sending people to prison for crimes they did not commit. Republicans want to blame the rise in crime on liberal permissiveness, copying a political playbook that worked extraordinarily well from the 1960s to the turn of the century. Republican senators are likely to attack Ketanji Brown Jackson, Biden’s nominee to replace Justice Stephen Breyer similar terms. In his written questions to Jackson during her nomination to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) asked whether Jackson’s “work as an Assistant Federal Public Defender would result in more violent criminals—including gun criminals—being put back on the streets?” Jackson would be the first public defender appointed to the Supreme Court, in part because of arguments like these, which imply that due process protects only criminals.

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