What BYU’s former general counsel said at Ketanji Jackson’s Supreme Court confirmation hearing
Former Judge Thomas Griffith called Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson an ‘independent jurist who adjudicates based on the facts and the law, and not as a partisan’
Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson was introduced at the opening day of her confirmation hearings by Thomas Griffith, a retired U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit judge and the former general counsel of BYU.
“I come here as a jurist appointed by a Republican president, George W. Bush, and I come here as someone who understands that there are few greater responsibilities under the Constitution than serving as a justice on the United States Supreme Court,” Griffith said during his remarks Monday.
Griffith described Jackson as an “independent jurist who adjudicates based on the facts and the law, and not as a partisan.”
Retired Judge Thomas Griffith on Judge Jackson: “Although we did not always agree on the outcome the law required, I respected her diligent and careful approach, her deep understanding and her collegial manner.” https://t.co/ejjHkouI3A pic.twitter.com/GQi7XJQsrm— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) March 21, 2022
“Time and again, she has demonstrated that impartiality on the bench, sometimes ruling in favor of the government, sometimes ruling against the government, sometimes ruling in favor of the individual, sometimes ruling in favor of the corporation,” he said. “Her rule is simple: follow the law.”
Griffith named four other judicial conservatives appointed by Republican presidents who back Jackson’s nomination — Michael Luttig, Michael Chertoff, David Levy and Andrew Guilford — and said bipartisan support for qualified nominees shouldn’t be unusual.
“Some think it noteworthy that a former judge appointed by a Republican president would enthusiastically endorse a nomination to the Supreme Court by a Democratic president,” Griffith said. “That reaction is a measure of the dangerous hyperpartisanship that has seeped into every nook and cranny of our nation’s life and against which the framers of the Constitution warned us.”
“There should be nothing unusual about my support for a highly qualified nominee,” he said.
Griffith said he met Jackson in 2013 after the Senate confirmed her to a federal district court as a trial judge, and he later reviewed her decisions on appeal.
“Although we did not always agree on the outcome the law required, I respected her diligent and careful approach, her deep understanding and her collegial manner, indispensable traits for success as a justice on the Supreme Court,” he said.
Jackson’s collegial nature is well suited for the Supreme Court, Griffith said, and she models civility of debate and respect for others’ views.
“It takes a jurist of high character, keen intellect, deep legal knowledge and broad experience to ensure that the judiciary plays its unique role under the Constitution to uphold the rule of law impartially and not to be in the words of Justice Stephen Breyer partisans in robes,” he said.
Griffith’s remarks ended with a warning about the fragility of law.
“The rule of law is a fragile possibility in the best of today,” he said. “Today it is literally under attack in Ukraine and is threatened around the world and in our own country by autocrats and their sympathizers who give lip service to the rule of law but then work to undermine it at every turn.”