PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla.—Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson could not define what a woman is, but “Ruth Bader Ginsburg would have been able to answer that question,” Rep. Elise Stefanik, chair of the House Republican Conference, says.
“You and I both know that you and I are women and we are proud to be women,” Stefanik, R-N.Y., told a reporter for The Daily Signal during an interview Thursday at the 2022 House Republican Issues Conference here.
Stefanik was referring to the moment when Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., asked Jackson to “provide a definition for the word ‘woman’” during the Senate Judiciary Committee’s confirmation hearing Wednesday.
After hesitating, Jackson responded by saying that she couldn’t define the word, adding, “I’m not a biologist.”
Stefanik, the House’s No. 3 Republican, said she finds Jackson’s answer “pretty ridiculous,” adding that her response to Blackburn’s question was “an unacceptable answer for a Supreme Court judge.”
Stefanik said she also has questions about Jackson’s record, including before she was a judge on the D.C. Circuit and the D.C. District Court:
I have questions about her qualifications. Most importantly, I have questions about her record in terms of her soft-on-crime sentencing. And there’s not full transparency.
I stand with the Republican senators who have requested the additional 48,000 documents from her time on the [U.S.] Sentencing Commission, and we deserve transparency when it’s the highest court in the land.
So I think the Republican senators have done a very good job asking issue specific questions, and you know, we’ll see.
The Senate Judiciary Committee’s four-day hearing on Jackson concluded Thursday, and the panel plans to vote April 4 on Jackson’s nomination by President Joe Biden to succeed retiring Justice Stephen Breyer.
The Senate, split 50-50 between Democrats and Republicans with Vice President Kamala Harris prepared to break a tie, has not yet scheduled a floor vote to confirm Jackson. She will need 51 votes.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Thursday that he will not vote to confirm Jackson.
“I cannot and will not support Judge Jackson for a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court,” McConnell said in remarks on the Senate floor.
McConnell referenced Jackson’s refusal to directly address the prospect of court-packing as a key reason he could not support her nomination.
“Other nominees to this Supreme Court have responded as I will, which is that it is a policy question for Congress,” Jackson told the Judiciary Committee when asked her opinion on adding to the number of Supreme Court justices.
One of two senators who has broken in the past with the Senate’s Democratic caucus pledged his vote to Jackson.
Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., said Friday that he will vote to confirm Jackson, writing in a public statement: “After meeting with her, considering her record, and closely monitoring her testimony and questioning before the Senate Judiciary Committee this week, I have determined I intend to vote for her nomination to serve on the Supreme Court.”
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, the other Senate Democrat who has broken ranks with the party on spending bills, has yet to say how she will vote on Jackson.
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