Critical race theory is a framework for interpreting law that maintains racism has an undeniable effect on the legal foundation of American society, and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones asserts in her 1619 Project that “no aspect of the country” has been “untouched” by “years of slavery.”
Blackburn criticized Jackson for supporting both.
Watch Blackburn’s full remarks:
What Jackson actually said during a Martin Luther King Jr. Day lecture at the University of Michigan Law School in 2020 was that Hannah-Jones is an “acclaimed investigative journalist” who provided a “provocative thesis,” according to a copy of the speech obtained by New York Times reporter Erica Green. Hannah-Jones’ thesis was that the America born in 1776 was "not the perfect union it purported to be" until African Americans spent some two centuries making it so through hard work and sacrifice.
Now whether Jackson agrees or disagrees with that thesis, it’s unclear what in Jackson’s judicial history has given Blackburn the impression that the judge’s opinion would impact her judicial decisions.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Dick Durbin began the second day of hearings by addressing the repeated inquiries about Jackson’s judicial philosophy. He pointed to some 573 written opinions that establish exactly what that philosophy is and asked Jackson to comment.
"Over the course of my almost decade on the bench, I have developed a methodology that I use in order to ensure that I am ruling impartially and that I am adhering to the limits on my judicial authority," Jackson said.
It wasn’t a juicy quote because her job isn’t about drama, accusations, or political controversies. Her job is about impartiality and her ability to decide cases based on the law.
Jackson said she's "acutely aware" of her “limited power” as a judge and is trying in every case to stay in her lane. She said her three-step process to make sure she does so involves clearing her mind of any preconceived notions when she gets a case, evaluating the factual record so that she understands the arguments, and interpreting and applying the law to each case.
Watch Jackson’s opening statement: