Tom Cotton to Ketanji Brown Jackson: I Don’t Find Your Testimony ‘Credible’

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) told President Joe Biden’s Supreme Court nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson that he did not find her testimony “credible” after the judge claimed she did not remember a child pornographer to whom she gave a light sentence.

“You know what I think?” Cotton said. “I think he got caught with child pornography again, and wouldn’t have if he had been in prison for the eight to ten years that the guidelines called for in 2013 when you first sentenced him.”

On Wednesday, during day three of Jackson’s confirmation hearing, Cotton mentioned a case involving child pornographer, Wesley Hawkins, who the senator noted, “was convicted of a child pornography offense in 2013.”

“The sentencing guidelines for this offense called for a sentence of 97 to 121 months, or eight to ten years,” Cotton explained. “The prosecutors asked for 24 months; you sentenced him to three months.”

“We’ve heard a lot about this case and your three-month sentence of Wesley Hawkins,” the senator continued. “But you got another crack at him in 2019, judge. In 2019, you sent Wesley Hawkins back under conditions of confinement with the bureau of prisons for six months, with additional restrictions on his computer usage.”

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) arrives for the Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing for U.S. Supreme Court nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill March 21, 2022, in Washington, DC. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

“That’s twice the amount of time in custody that you sentenced him to in 2013. What did Wesley Hawkins do in 2019, judge?” Cotton asked, to which Jackson stated, “Oh, I don’t remember, senator. I have a lot of defendants who I’ve sentenced.”

Cotton went on to note that Jackson has “been asked repeatedly over the last two days over the Hawkins case.”

“It’s been in the news — for days on end,” he said. “This resentencing happened in 2019, and now you’re saying you don’t have any recollection of it. Let me see if I can refresh your recollection.”

The senator then took out a large board showing the order Jackson signed on April 17, 2019, adding, “There’s your signature over there, judge. You really don’t remember?”

Jackson maintained that she did not remember, stating, “Senator, that is a very, very common thing that judges do.”

“I understand you’ve done a lot, judge, but none of them have been the centerpiece of your hearing for the last two days,” Cotton said.

“Do you really expect this committee to believe that you don’t remember what happened in this Hawkins case?” he added, to which Jackson laughed, “Yes, senator, I do expect you to believe; that’s my testimony.”

“Well, I don’t find it credible, judge,” the senator affirmed. “It’s been in the news for days — you’ve been asked about it probably more than any other case you’ve ever had, and I just don’t find it credible that you weren’t prepared for that matter in 2019.”

“You know what I think?” he added. “I think he got caught with child pornography again, and wouldn’t have if he had been in prison for the eight to ten years that the guidelines called for in 2013 when you first sentenced him.”

On Tuesday, during day two of her confirmation hearing, Jackson would not answer the senator’s question regarding whether she believed the U.S. should strengthen “sentences for child pornographers.”

You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Facebook and Twitter at @ARmastrangelo, and on Instagram.

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