Republican Texas Sen. Ted Cruz whipped out a white board Tuesday to demonstrate how Supreme Court Justice nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson ruled in cases regarding child pornography.
“Let’s look at what the prosecutors are asking for, and I would note that this was in the District of Columbia where prosecutors are far more liberal than many of the prosecutors in this country,” Cruz said as he sat in front of a dry erase board that had several cases along with their sentencing recommendations and final outcomes listed. “So in United States versus Hess there was a statutory minimum of 60 months and you imposed 60 months because you had no discretion.”
“In United States versus Nickerson, there was a mutual agreement of the parties to 120 months and that’s what you imposed. In every other case, United States versus Chasin, the prosecutor asked for 78-97 months, you imposed 28 months,” Cruz said, circling the “28 months” with a red marker.
Cruz then broke down the math, explaining that 28 months is a 64% reduction in sentencing time.
Ted Cruz pulls out his white board to illustrate how in child pornography cases, Ketanji Brown Jackson gave the defendants an average 47.2% less sentence than what the prosecutors recommended. pic.twitter.com/7VUnbdAg2E
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) March 22, 2022
The senator then pointed to several other cases in which Jackson imposed a sentence that was far less than what prosecutors sought. In some cases, Jackson slashed sentencing by more than 80%, according to Cruz.
“Every single case, 100% of them, when prosecutors came before you with child pornography cases, you sentenced the defenders to substantially below, not just the guidelines, which are way higher, but what the prosecutor asked for on average of these cases, 47.2% less.”
In United States versus Savage, Cruz claimed the government recommended 49 months while guidelines recommended 46-57 months. The Washington Post reports the guidelines were 37-46 months and the recommendation was 36 months. Jackson sentenced the defendant to 37 months.
“Do you believe the voice of the children is heard when 100% of the time you’re sentencing those in possession of child pornography to far below what the prosecutor is asking for.” (RELATED: ‘He Just Lies’: Scarborough Calls Sen. Hawley A ‘Grandstander’ For Questioning SCOTUS Nominee’s Record)
“Yes, senator, I do,” Jackson said. “A couple of observations, one is that your chart does not include all of the factors that Congress has told judges to consider, including the probation officers’ recommendation in these cases.”
“But Judge Jackson, we don’t have those probation, the committee has not been given the probation officers’ recommendation,” Cruz interjected. “We would welcome them.”
“The second thing I would say,” Jackson continued, “is that I take these cases very seriously as a mother, as someone who as a judge has to review the actual evidence in these cases and based on Congress’ requirement, take into account not only the sentencing guidelines, not only the recommendations of the parties, but also things like the stories of the victims, also things like the nature and circumstances of the offense and the history and characteristics of the defendant.”
“Congress is the body that tells sentencing judges what they are supposed to look at, and Congress has said that a judge is not playing a numbers game,” she added. “The judge is looking at all of these different factors and making a determination in every case based on a number of different considerations. And in every case, I did my duty to hold the defendants accountable in light of the evidence and information that was presented to me.”
Republican Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley drew attention to Jackson’s record on child pornography in a Twitter thread, claiming that “in every single child porn case for which we can find records, Judge Jackson deviated from the federal sentencing guidelines in favor of child porn offenders.”
Jackson has defended her record, saying Tuesday in an exchange with Democratic Illinois Sen. Dick During that “as a mother and a judge who has had to deal with these cases, I was thinking that nothing could be further from the truth.”
Jackson reiterated that Congress determines how judges are supposed to sentence and that judges must take into account several aspects of an offense before sentencing. She also noted how she gets testimony from victims and includes that in her decision making process.
“The statute says, ‘calculate the guidelines,’ but also look at various aspects of this offense and impose a sentence that is ‘sufficient, but not greater than necessary to promote the purposes of punishment,’” Jackson said.