Here is What Ketanji Brown Jackson Said in the Harvard Law Review Article That Josh Hawley Found ‘Alarming’

The Supreme Court nominee raised serious constitutional concerns about laws that punish sex offenders after they complete their sentences.

by Jacob Sullum

Sen. Josh Hawley (R–Mo.) last week presented a highly misleading summary of Supreme Court nominee Kentanji Brown Jackson’s sentencing practices in child pornography cases. Hawley claimed that Jackson, whose confirmation hearing began today, had shown an “alarming pattern” of “sentencing leniency for sex criminals” who are “preying on children.” But the cases he cited actually involved defendants convicted of possessing or sharing child pornography rather than defendants convicted of sexually abusing children. Furthermore, Jackson’s downward departures from the penalties recommended by federal sentencing guidelines are the norm among federal judges, who have long criticized those penalties as excessive—with good reason.

To reinforce his portrait of Jackson as soft on “child predators,” Hawley also cited a 1996 Harvard Law Review article that she wrote when she was in law school. His characterization of that article, which was unsigned but subsequently appeared on Jackson’s lists of her publications, is just as demagogic and acontextual as his description of her sentencing decisions.

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