Senator Sasse References the “Jackassery” in the Senate Following Cruz’s Questioning of Ketanji Brown Jackson


    Senator Ben Sasse (R.NE) discussed the reasons cameras shouldn't be permitted during the Supreme Court nomination Senate hearings when he noted that “the jackassery we often see around [the U.S. Senate] is partly because of people looking for short-term camera opportunities.”

    Sasse declared, “Transparency is a good thing. I also believe that pen and pad can facilitate a whole heck of a lot of transparency just fine. And it's healthy for Americans to recognize the second and third, and fourth order effects of cameras. A huge part of why this institution doesn't work well is because we have cameras everywhere.”

    Sasse indicated that many activities are performed by humans when they're not aware of their distant camera viewers for which they're trying to make audio messages. Also, although Instagram can be helpful in small ways for discussions on intellectual content, it's not the best partner. He surmised that much of the mischief seen on the internet is largely due to people seeking short-term camera opportunities.

    The comments were made shortly after Senator Ted Cruz (R.TX) asked U.S. Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson about her soft sentences for child-sex offenders as well as her views on women's rights, leading some social-media users to wonder if Sasse's comments were in reference to Cruz.

    One user asked, “Did Sasse just take a shot at the ‘jackassery’ Ted Cruz and Lindsey Graham?”

    During his interrogation of Jackson in the afternoon, Cruz presented a chart that highlighted eight of Jackson's child-porn convictions and said her sentences had differed from the federal sentencing guidelines as well as the recommendations of government prosecutors.

    Speaking about United States v. Chazin, Cruz asked Jackson about her sentencing, pointing out that in this instance, similar defendants were sentenced to between 84 and 92 months. The law requires judges to sentence similar defendants to the same sentences. But Jackson sentenced Chazin not to 84 or 92 months–the sentence she gave him was 28 months. 

    “Why?” Cruz asked her.

    Jackson has defended her lenient sentencing of child-sex offenders, saying she has sentenced more than 100 individuals, while Cruz focused on only eight instances. “Senator, no one case can stand in for a judge's entire sentencing record. I've sentence[d] more than 100 people. You have eight or nine cases in that chart,” Jackson declared.

    Cruz also questioned Jackson regarding her assessment of womanhood in cases of gender discrimination, after she failed to define the term woman when Senator Marsha Blackburn (R.TN) requested her opinion on Tuesday. 

    A paraphrase of Cruz’s remarks: “If I could alter my gender, if I chose to become female, and then one hour later decide that I am not a woman and no longer a woman, I'd have to lose Article III standing. Do you think that the same principle also applies to other protected features? In the case of me, for example, a Hispanic man, I could determine that I am an Asian man. What does it mean, that is, my…[choice] as an Asian man, and then challenge Harvard's discrimination based on this choice.”

    At the end of Cruz's allotted period, he engaged in a heated exchange with Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin (D.IL), who claimed Cruz had not allowed Jackson to respond to questions.

    Cruz, together with his Republican colleagues from the Senate Judiciary Committee, pushed for Jackson's pre-sentencing reports on her child-sex-offender cases in a letter to Durbin sent on Tuesday. What was not included in the signature block of the letter was Senator Sasse’s signature. His spokesperson claimed that Cruz brought up “an important process issue on document production.” However, the spokesperson told the press that Sasse has said that he is “going to continue to dive into Judge Jackson's judicial philosophy because, as an originalist, he believes judicial philosophy is the central issue of this nomination.”


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