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Jackson faces pointed questions at Senate hearing

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson faced senators’ questions for the first time Tuesday as Democrats push to quickly confirm the only Black female justice in the court’s 233-year history.

Jackson, a federal appeals court judge, sat and silently listened to more than four hours of senators’ opening statements on Monday, the first of four days of Judiciary Committee hearings on her nomination. As senators began 30-minute rounds of grilling on Tuesday, she faced their specific points, including charges by some Republicans that she has been too lenient in sentencing on criminal matters.

Tuesday’s hearing is the first of two days of questioning. On Thursday, the committee will hear from legal experts before an eventual vote to move her nomination to the Senate floor. Barring unexpected developments, Democrats who control the Senate by the slimmest of margins hope to wrap up Jackson’s confirmation before Easter, though Breyer is not leaving the court until after the current session ends this summer.

In her own 12-minute statement, Jackson didn’t mention specific cases but told the committee that she would “apply the laws to the facts of the case before me, without fear or favor, consistent with my judicial oath,” if she were to be confirmed.

Jackson, 51, thanked God and professed love for “our country and the Constitution.” She stressed that she has been independent, deciding cases “from a neutral posture” in her nine years as a federal judge.

While Republicans promised pointed questions, Democrats were full of praise for President Joe Biden’s Supreme Court nominee. Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin said that to be first, “often, you have to be the best, in some ways the bravest.”

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