While Supreme Court watchers waited to see if a decision on Roe v. Wade would be included with Monday’s release of opinions, newly minted Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson expressed that there was “shock” when she learned of the leak.
Nearly two weeks after Justice Samuel Alito’s draft majority opinion on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization was leaked, Jackson was pressed on the implications for the court and her stance on the ruling she previously stated was “settled law.” After meeting with high school students to discuss the law, Jackson sat down for an interview with The Washington Post where she was asked about her influences and experiences.
Near the end of the questioning, she was asked to give her initial reaction to the leak and she explained, “Everybody who is familiar with the court and the way in which it works was shocked by that. Such a departure from normal order.”
A similar departure from business as usual has been the repeated protests outside the homes of the more conservative Justices despite laws prohibiting such behavior. Jackson was asked about those protests being a good or bad thing and reportedly replied, “I don’t have any comment.”
She was equally mum on whether she believed the leak itself was a positive or negative development stating, “I can’t answer that.”
Pro-Life activists slam Biden’s SCOTUS nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson https://t.co/EXo8hGwB7H
— American Wire News (@americanwire_) March 23, 2022
However, if past remarks are any indicator, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) may have revealed her position during her confirmation hearing when he entered an amicus brief into the record. Co-authored by Jackson for the Massachusetts National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) Grassley explained of the brief, “She portrayed pro-life sidewalk counselors as a ‘hostile, noisy crowd of “in-your-face” protestors.'”
He added, “Jackson’s past writing strongly indicate that she may be unable to fairly consider arguments from those politically divergent from her own.” As prior nominees had done when asked to comment specifically on Roe v. Wade, Jackson referred to the case as “the settled law of the Supreme Court concerning the right to terminate a woman’s pregnancy.”
In other words, by Grassley’s assessment, Jackson would be opposed to Roe being overturned, but may be in favor of protests that support her preferred causes.
When it comes to views of the court having grown overly politicized in recent years, Jackson insisted that her new role would be no different than post positions she had held, “I’m going to approach it in the same way I have approached all of my other judicial appointments: understanding what my role is, understanding the way our system was designed and is supposed to work.”
In her view, “Judges are trying to articulate what the law requires in the context of a particular case. And there’s something very concrete about that, and there’s something that requires an understanding, in my view, of actual parties and problems of real people.”
But, as Grassley argued, “She has been handpicked by a pro-abortion president to satisfy the pressure campaign from pro-abortion, progressive activists.”
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