Blackburn Previews Approach to Ketanji Jackson Hearings

As the confirmation hearings for Joe Biden’s nominee to the Supreme Court, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, get underway, Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) has offered some previews of how she expects to participate as the only Republican woman on the Judiciary Committee.

Blackburn said during an interview last Tuesday with The Federalist that she is planning to give voice to conservative women in examining Jackson’s qualifications to sit on the nation’s highest court.

Blackburn said that she plans to ask Jackson about her philosophical respect for the Constitution and the Western tradition of the rule of law. She added that ever since the debacle that Democrats made of the confirmation hearings for Justice Brett Kavanaugh, Americans expect the review to be “very thorough” and to go in-depth into a candidate’s record.

Blackburn has been in the Senate since 2019 after serving in the House beginning in 2003. Before then she served in the Tennessee state Senate and worked in sales and marketing. She has become a visible representative of the GOP since the Trump administration and has targeted abuses by big tech companies and the Chinese government.

Blackburn joined the Senate Judiciary Committee in time to participate in the confirmation process for Justice Amy Coney Barrett. Her approach to her work on the committee was shaped by the way the Kavanaugh confirmation process was handled. She said that her constituents in Tennessee were “just shocked” by the conduct of Democrats in that confirmation and as a result watched the Barrett confirmation closely.

After Democrats accused Kavanaugh of being a serial gang rapist with no evidence and attacked Barrett’s faith and family, Republicans are now going to be closely scrutinized as the minority party during Jackon’s hearings.

Blackburn was asked why Republicans should not respond to Democratic “norm-breaking” with norm-breaking of their own. She responded by saying the proper approach is to show the record of the person being nominated to any federal court. She said a careful analysis of a candidate’s rulings, opinions, and record with higher courts is the most important indicator of their respect for the rule of law.

When asked if Republicans might fight against Jackson’s confirmation by denying a quorum to the Judiciary Committee, she said the best thing for Republican members to do at this time is to prepare their opening statements and questions in order to head into a “thorough vetting process.”

Blackburn said that everyone senses that Democrats are scrambling to complete Jackson’s confirmation before Easter. She said the 50-50 split in the Senate has them afraid that a lengthy confirmation might cost them votes they cannot afford to lose.