Confirmation Expectations: What’s Next

Here’s what to look for when Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s confirmation hearings begin on March 21:  

  • Given the committee makeup, expect culture war questions from Republicans: Abortion, transgender health (see the new Texas law), affirmative action and critical race theory. There’s a small chance she could get a serious question on regulatory policy from someone like Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) given she is replacing a specialist in regulatory procedure, where her record is less clear than on criminal justice/government overreach and civil rights issues.
  • Democrats are going to want to spend as much time as they can asking her “softballs” and making her look good. She may get questions on the McGahn subpoena or maybe the decision to disclose Trump White House documents to the House January 6 committee. But if past is prologue, she’s going to spend a lot of time saying something to the effect of “I will follow the precedents laid out by the Court”.
  • In terms of process, the Senate wants to confirm Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson before the April recess which begins on April 11. Judiciary Committee hearings will begin on Monday, March 21, with statements from committee members, the individuals who will introduce Judge Jackson and Judge Jackson herself. Questioning of Judge Jackson will happen Tuesday and Wednesday. The hearings will conclude on Thursday, March 24, with testimony from the American Bar Association and additional outside witnesses. The Senate will aim for confirmation the week of April 4.