After a week of intense questioning for Biden’s nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, results seem to indicate that she is a pick who is soft on crime.
In testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, Jackson discussed concerns raised primarily by Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) that she was lenient on people who had child pornography. Hawley pointed out that as a judge, there were seven cases where she gave sentences below what was recommended by the federal sentencing guidelines. As a member of the U.S. Sentencing Commission, she also pushed to lower the penalties for child pornography.
“More serious child pornography offenders were based on the volume, based on the number of photographs that they received in the mail, and that made total sense before when we didn’t have the internet, when we didn’t have the distribution,” Jackson explained. “But the way that the guideline is now structured, based on that set of circumstances, is leading to extreme disparities in the system because it is so easy for people to get volumes of this kind of material now by computers.”
The sentencing guidelines help ensure that two criminals who commit the same crime face the same prison term. Jackson claims that a criminal getting 100 child porn pictures through the mail is less harmful than getting 100 pictures on his computer over the internet. The point of the penalties is to discourage pedophiles from getting more pictures because taking pictures harms children. The greater the demand for those pictures, the more children are harmed.
Indeed, Jackson acknowledged this in her answer: “There is only a market because there are lookers. You are contributing to child sex abuse.” But she doesn’t understand where this answer logically takes her. Whether someone pays for an electronic image of child porn or has a printed copy of that picture, they increase the demand. She claimed that she viewed the crime of child pornography as “damaging,” as “horrible.” But consistently deviating from the sentencing norm established by the guidelines for child porn doesn’t match Jackson’s words.
While her light stance on crime isn’t supposing, given her years as a public defender, her track record speaks for itself, and it’s clear that Judge Jackson seems to be somebody committed to be lenient to criminals.