Thursday, March 24, 2022

Kudos to Ketanji Brown Jackson ...

(***PS added regarding the  Harvard Law Review Paper/Article being passed around, because it doesn't say what those sharing it say it does and/or they have cherry-picked quotes out of context ;) 

... for maintaining her composure, despite the barrage of often irrelevant absurdity coming at her from Republican Senators during the nomination hearings, particularly from Josh Hawley, Lindsey Graham, and Ted Cruz.

For the 1,000th time, the problem with child-pornography sentencing is that Congress defines the sentences that can be given to non-producing child pornographers (lookers), not judges - judges have a narrow range of sentencing that can be given - and the sentencing laws need to be updated.

KBJ has repeatedly advocated for Congress to strengthen the law, and actually given maximum sentencing  (such as 29 years) - while as Senator Dick Durbin points out, her accuser, Josh Hawley, supported Trump-appointed federal judge candidate, Sarah Pitlyk, who in 2019 gave a 60-day sentence to a possessor of child pornography material - 60 days less than the minimum congressional guideline of 120 days.

In fact, though I haven't watched the entire hearing, from what I've seen, this was the most "emotional" (and I'm not even sure I'd call it that) she became thus far, clearly disgusted - by both child pornography and the false accusations previously made by Senator Hawley ...

But instead of pointing fingers about which judges are too lenient or not, KBJ redirects the conversation to the problem not being that any of these judges are "soft" on child pornography - the problem is that Congress needs to redefine the sentencing for these offenders. 

She also details what she tells each child-pornography defendant, and their legal team, every time they  begin crying and try the defense "they were just looking" - which is that "just looking" has destroyed the lives of many children such that they can no longer live normal lives, their pictures and videos forever on the internet, during the most vulnerable times of their lives - and court reporters have produced former transcripts of her doing so (as Dick Durbin presents here).

Then Senator Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee asks her, "What is a woman?"

What the ???

KBJ says, "I can't.  And I'm not a biologist."

I wish she had been able to expand on that - because what she means is, she cannot provide the legal definition of a woman, because the legal definition of a woman has yet to be defined at a local, state, or federal level.

In fact, a SCOTUS nominee had better NOT answer this question because there no legal precedent on the legal definition of a woman yet, it has yet to be determined. 

Then Ted Cruz hops on that and says she's "unable" to answer that because of leftist agenda ( though he knows dang well no SCOTUS nominee can answer that question legally yet, they could only give personal opinion) - and that she's "the only candidate in history to be unable to answer the question."

Erm - pretty sure she's the only candidate to ever be asked that question - and again, the definition of a woman has yet to be legally defined, at a local, state, or federal level.

Then he says, "If I said I was a woman, does that mean I'm a woman?"

KBJ wisely doesn't answer.

Oh, oh, oh - can I PLEASE answer that question? 

I don't know, Airport Karen Cruz, but some might say you certainly act like the worst stereotypes of women.

But I'm pretty sure Lindsey Graham IS a woman. 

In fact, he might be the most feminine senator we have.  I think he'd be a lot less angry if he'd just publicly come out of the closet!

Then he yammered on about her friend writing a paper on CRT asking her position on it.

She said she didn't have one, she's not in education and though she's aware of the issue, it hasn't been a part of her legal career.  

Why are they even asking her this question; it's not even a part of federal law or constitutional conversation - because she's black?  

I wonder if they would ask a white candidate this question.

Sure, she has a friend who wrote a paper on CRT - I'm sure she has lots of friends who write lots of papers, many of us do,  as I'm sure the Senators themselves do (if the Senators even understand them lol) - so what?

And let's put it this way - I have a friend that's written a white paper on an algorithm he created to identify Russian bots spreading disinformation.

I'm a pharmaceutical transcriptionist. 

Regardless of whether or not I agree with the findings of his paper, would that mean I'm going to insert his findings about Russian-bot disinformation into my pharmaceutical transcripts?

Of course not, it's irrelevant and ridiculous - and the same is true for KBJ and her friend's paper. 

The only time that issue would ever come up would be if one of this CRT cases makes it to the SCOTUS, at which time, the group of them together would decide what the decision will be based on the constitutional framework.

Just ridiculous - Republicans, you should be embarrassed - if not now, you will be, at some point in history.

Because you got nothing on KBJ and you know it - so you just start cherry-picking quotes out of context or start making sh*t up entirely - to the point of absurd theater.

Bravo, KBJ, for withstanding this absurd line of questioning, false accusations, and word-twisting, and alternative facts with grace, dignity, and maintaining your composure!


PS - Lots of folks passing around that unsigned Harvard Review Law article allegedly written by KBJ.

Even if we assume she wrote it because it appeared our her list of publications - READ THE ENTIRE PAPER/ARTICLE.

I don't know if the Republicans passing this around didn't bother to actually read the entire lengthy paper, didn't understand it, if they have a reading-comprehension problem, or just deceptively cherry-picked it,  believing their supporters are stupid and won't actually read it and just trust them - but regardless, it doesn't say what they're saying it does, or at least their cherry-picked quotes out of context lol  

In fact, it's consistent with what she said in her hearing about the need for updated, more specific, better legal definition in the sentencing  guidelines regarding for varying types of sex crimes, particularly with regards to the current legal language around methods of prevention of future crime VS. methods of punishment -  and most importantly -  whether current "preventative" methods are effective methods of preventing further sex crimes. 

Also - again -  she is NOT the only federal judge to request this - MANY federal judges have requested this -  on BOTH sides of the political fence. 

The only aspect one might even find questionable - at least for me - is further explained if you read the entire article and keep it in context.

The most questionable aspect I found is that she questions whether all sex offenders - from producers to viewers to "statutory rape" cases  - which is legally defined as a sexual relationship between a legal adult and someone underage, even if a consensual relationship between a 18-year-old and a 17-year-old  -  should receive the same treatment, and if so, suggests the current legal sentencing guidelines should then be more specific. 

She goes on to question whether community sex registries shouldn't be regarded as part of their punishment, rather than their current legal standing as prevention of future crime - because of the social ramifications and/or potential for encouraging lawless vigilantism - as well as she points out a that a reassessment on efficacy of these "preventative" programs.

Now - if you take just that quote excerpt out of context, it could be twisted to look like she's defending the rights of sex offenders - which is what Republicans have done.

No - she's saying that sex-offender registries should be legally listed as "punishment" rather than "prevention of future crimes," because studies have shown sex registries are NOT effective at curbing a prior offender's future sex crimes.  Further she's saying the only things sex-offender registries appear to be effective at are keeping the community informed/community avoidance - and encouragement of lawless community vigilantism.

As for that last point, though vigilantism with sex crimes is certainly understandable, it is nevertheless illegal - only due process of law is legal, protected by our constitution.

So it's not KBJ -  or any judge - who is "protecting" the rights of child sex offenders - the constitution itself does.

Our U.S. constitution gives specific details regarding the rights of suspected and convicted criminals, regardless of type of crime, including their right to due process of law rather than vigilantism, a fair trial, and avoidance of cruel and unusual punishment (8th amendment).

All judges must first and foremost adhere to constitutional law regarding criminal rights, as well as the rights of their victims - regardless of whether they agree or not, like it or not, or whether they personally feel the criminal deserves or not. 

Regardless, all of this needs to be viewed through the lens of support for the entire title concept, which she reiterated during in the hearings - that the current law is unclear on whether sentencing is truly preventative VS. punitive, truly effective, too vague, and too open to interpretation, and thus needs to be re-evaluated and better defined - and again, she's not the only federal judge who has complained these guidelines need to be updated - on either side of the political fence.

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