As Supreme Court nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson delivered her opening statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday, the gravity of the moment appeared to be overwhelming for her husband, Dr Patrick Jackson.
Dr Jackson was seen seated behind his wife during the proceedings and was visibly tearing up as she made her remarks.
In her prepared statement, Ms Jackson thanked her husband as well as her daughters, while admitting that the stresses of a high-powered legal career didn’t “always” leave room for her to achieve the best balance between being a parent and doing her job.
“I have no doubt that without him by my side...none of this would have been possible,” she said of Dr Jackson. “He’s been the best husband, father, and friend I could ever imagine.”
The couple have been married for more than two decades. Dr Jackson is a surgeon with MedStar Health in the Washington DC area.
Ms Jackson’s opening remarks came at the end of a long day of lengthy statements from every member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, a time-consuming event that shifted rapidly between Democrats’ celebration of Ms Jackson’s historic nomination and GOP vows to ask tough questions during her confirmation process. If confirmed, Judge Jackson would be the first Black woman to serve on the US Supreme Court.
At one point the hearing also grew personal when a GOP senator, Marsha Blackburn, diverted from the collegiate route her colleagues had taken and instead ripped into Ms Jackson for allegedly having a “hidden agenda” while making vague references to her views on issues like sentencing reform and critical race theory.
The statements, while largely unremarkable, illuminated the tenor of the hearings will take place over the next few days before the committee as Ms Jackson’s nomination is considered, as well as the types of criticism she may face from Republicans.
The White House and Democrats have roundly mocked their GOP colleagues for the criticism, much of which has centered around Ms Jackson being supposedly “soft on crime”, and noted that she enjoys the endorsement of the nation’s largest police union for the job.
Ms Jackson, if confirmed, would be the first Black female justice on the bench of the nation’s highest court. Her nomination will not require votes from any of the chamber’s Republican members if the Democratic majority remains unified on her confirmation vote.
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