WASHINGTON – On the brink of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s confirmation to the United States Supreme Court, an independent Maine senator criticized fellow lawmakers for the way they questioned her.
“I thought a lot of the questioning of Judge Jackson was out of line, more to make a political point,” U.S. Sen. Angus King of Maine said on Wednesday.
The Senate confirmed Jackson’s appointment today. King called it “an honor” to vote to approve her appointment.
“Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson is one of the most impressive people I have ever met,” King said in a statement released by his office today, calling hers a “brilliant legal mind with wide-ranging experience and an even judicial temperament well-suited for the highest court in the land.”
In an interview with Youth Journalism International on Wednesday, King said the tense nature of Supreme Court confirmation hearings often allowed them to spiral into less than dignified behavior.
“Supreme Court nominations have become circuses,” he said.
Senators questioned Jackson intensely for days. Emotional outbursts and charged comments further polarized the already divided Senate.
King noted that many questions posed to Jackson were improper.
“Some of it was unfair,” he said.
King voted against confirming the previous three Supreme Court nominees all of them chosen by former President Donald Trump.
Jackson will be the first Black woman on the nation’s highest court.
“It’s a job that has dramatic impacts on every American,” King said.
Some the questions Jackson faced were fueled by partisan motivations rather than genuine doubts about her competence as a judge, King said.
But King said it’s okay for senators to ask Jackson personal questions during the confirmation hearing to get a sense of her character and morals.
“You’re talking about one of the only few jobs in our society that is for life,” King said. “There’s no going back. There’s no second chances.”
Sreehitha Gandluri is a Senior Reporter with Youth Journalism International. She reported and wrote this story.
Katrina Machetta is a Senior Reporter with Youth Journalism International. She contributed to this story.
Owen Ferguson is an Associate Editor with Youth Journalism International. He made the cover photo.