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Democrats Schedule Vote on Advancing the Supreme Court Nomination of Ketanji Brown Jackson

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall, left, testifies during a Senate Judiciary Committee's confirmation hearing of Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, March 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson wrapped up Thursday. The Senate Judiciary Committee is now preparing for a vote on April 4 on whether to advance her nomination. 

After two days of direct questioning, Jackson received a break, while outside experts weighed in on her merits. That brought somewhat of a role reversal with Democrats supplying the fireworks. 

One line of questioning to these witnesses involved the riot at the Capitol building on Jan. 6.

"Have you offered any testimony to the January 6th Commission," asked Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, (D-RI).

 "I have not been asked," responded Alabama Republican Attorney General Steve Marshall.

"Is Joseph R. Biden of Delaware the duly elected and lawful President of the United States of America," pressed Whitehouse.

"He is the president of this country," responded Marshall.

Whitehouse also accused Marshall of taking part in robocalls promoting the January 6th march on the Capitol. Marshall deferred all questions on the topic. 

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When it came to the other outside witnesses, their testimony represented the clashing views of Judge Jackson already presented by Democrats and Republican lawmakers. 

"Senators, this week, quoted Dr. King, and as I am reminded, to paraphrase, King said, 'Give us the ballot so we can put judges on the bench who will do justice and love mercy,' Judge Jackson will do exactly that," said U.S. Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-OH) the chair of the Congressional Black Caucus.

"Ultimately, we cannot expect someone who subscribes to Critical Race Theory to defend and protect the Constitution, because CRT asserts that the Constitution is not worth defending," said First Liberty Institute Associate Counsel Keisha Russell. 

More friendly witnesses included a childhood friend of Jackson and the president of NOBLE, The National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives. 

"So there have been charges made, yesterday, the before, that she (Jackson) is somehow part of a quote, 'anti-incarceration, anti-police movement,' that somehow she is associated with a Defund the Police movement. Would you or your organization have endorsed her if that were true," questioned Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Dick Durbin (D - IL).

"We never saw that in our research, that never came out, and I don't really think it's true sir," said  East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office Captain Frederick Thomas with NOBLE.

From the other side, witnesses included Eleanor McCullen, the plaintiff in a free speech case tried by Judge Jackson, and Alessandra Serano, the chief legal officer for Operation Underground Railroad, an organization working to end child trafficking. 

"How did it make you feel, in Judge Jackson's brief, when she referred to pro-life women as a 'hostile, noisy crowd of in-your-face protestors?,'" Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R -TN) asked McCullen.

"Well it made me sad, and that's not the case at all," responded McCullen.

The American Bar Association participated in the peer review portion of the confirmation process. ABA's Standing Committee defended the "Well Qualified" rating the group gave Judge Jackson.

With the confirmation hearings wrapped and  April 4 committee vote scheduled, Senate leaders expect the full vote will follow in, "short order."

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