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Supreme Court nominee Jackson says she would recuse herself from Harvard affirmative action case

Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson faced questions from senators on March 23 during the second day of her confirmation hearing. (Video: Mahlia Posey, Joshua Carroll/The Washington Post, Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, President Biden’s nominee to the Supreme Court, said Wednesday that if confirmed, she would recuse herself from a case examining Harvard University’s admissions policies. Jackson, whose term on Harvard’s Board of Overseers expires this spring, previously had not said publicly what she would do.

Jackson’s statement came as she testified for nearly 10 hours before the Senate Judiciary Committee, with several Republicans sharply criticizing her as too lenient in her sentencing as a federal trial judge.

Jackson countered that it was unfair to solely focus on a subset of cases and emphasized that she had handed down tough sentences. Later, as Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), the only Black senator on the panel, came to her defense and praised her, Jackson became visibly emotional.

Here’s what to know

  • Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) pressed Jackson on whether she had been too lenient with sentencing in child pornography cases but repeatedly interrupted her before she could give an answer. Judiciary Committee Chairman Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) eventually intervened.
  • Sen. Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.) asked Jackson to talk about her brother, a former police officer in Baltimore, after Republicans sought to portray Jackson as soft on crime.
  • Durbin rebuffed a request from all but one Republican senator on the committee for all presentencing reports from the child pornography cases Jackson handled as a judge.
  • Jackson, 51, has been nominated by Biden to replace Justice Stephen G. Breyer, who is retiring. Breyer, 83, the high court’s oldest justice, has been a reliable liberal vote.
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Here's what to know:

Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) pressed Jackson on whether she had been too lenient with sentencing in child pornography cases but repeatedly interrupted her before she could give an answer. Judiciary Committee Chairman Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) eventually intervened.
Sen. Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.) asked Jackson to talk about her brother, a former police officer in Baltimore, after Republicans sought to portray Jackson as soft on crime.
Durbin rebuffed a request from all but one Republican senator on the committee for all presentencing reports from the child pornography cases Jackson handled as a judge.
Jackson, 51, has been nominated by Biden to replace Justice Stephen G. Breyer, who is retiring. Breyer, 83, the high court’s oldest justice, has been a reliable liberal vote.

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