By Spencer M-D. ’25
The Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation process for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson has been quite the rollercoaster, with senators up in arms arguing over what should be a non-partisan appointment. Republican Senators have been up in arms arguing and yelling this of course can be well highlighted by the screaming match between Committee Chair Dick Durban and Senator Ted Cruz. The trend of Supreme Court hearings, often a bastion of the non-political, towards being the victim of an increasingly politicized Senate, has been saddening, especially considering the apolitical nature of the judiciary. The Supreme Court and Judicial branch in general was created to be separate from the political nonsense. The Republican senators sitting on the committee have made arguments that her sentencing as a trial judge has been too weak, which has been refuted by Democratic Senators and the press.
The confirmation process is very complex and it takes a team of experts to guide the candidate through. It begins with a hearing in the bipartisan Senate Judiciary committee. After the hearings are through the committee votes on the nominee and if they pass the whole Senate votes on the nomination. This process is in place to ensure the reliability of our court.
In Jackson’s hearing there has been a lot of drama, however, one of the most dramatic moments was Senator Lindsey Graham storming out of the hearing. He has been attacking Judge Jackson for her defense of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. To go along with this temper tantrum other Republican senators question Jackson inappropriately about the school her daughter attends. Jackson supporters have gotten very angry about her treatment during the hearings. Jackson is facing tough attacks and has had trouble handling them as any would.
The judiciary should be independent and people who are being nominated should not be questioned on their personal lives and also should be given adequate time to prepare for specific case matter discussion to review decisions. The matters brought up in the hearings are important to the people within America and need to be both correct and relevant to ensure the perspective of people of the United States have an accurate idea of the person who may serve on their Supreme Court.
This whole situation begs the question what can be done in attempts to remedy these problems. One answer that has been discussed in past articles is overdriving the whole confirmation system. Rather than the Senate a partisan body approving nominees they could be run through an individual nonpartisan non-governmental committee. This would ensure the reliability of the people confirmed and ensure the Judicial Branch maintains its independence.