White House accused of hiding Judge Jackson’s record of lenient child porn case sentencing

Some Republican senators raised concerns over an apparent record of light sentencing for child pornography cases by Supreme Court nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson during her confirmation hearings last week.

Now some are even accusing the White House of engaging in a “cover-up” by withholding records of a recent ruling from Jackson last year that fit the pattern of light sentencing until after the hearings had concluded, Fox News reported.

Of course, President Joe Biden’s White House disputed that allegation, accused the GOP of smearing the nominee, and argued that Jackson’s rulings on child porn cases were actually consistent with how other judges ruled and were, more often than not, in line with what prosecutors had requested.

Why wasn’t this released earlier?

According to Fox News, at issue are the records of a recent child porn case known as U.S. v. Cane — the convict received 60 months, below the 84 months requested by the probation office — that was purportedly “intentionally” left out of the materials provided to the Senate Judiciary Committee … or at least the Republicans on that committee, per an unnamed aide to a GOP member of that body.

“Not only does this case, which Judge Jackson left off her list of child abuse cases, undercut her argument that she followed the probation office’s recommended sentences, but it also underscores the perils of moving too quickly in the vetting process,” the aide told Fox.

“The transcripts — the only public material to address sentencing in this case — confirm that the probation office recommended a longer sentence than the minimum term imposed by Judge Jackson,” the aide continued. “They also reveal the government’s arguments for enhancing the penalty, which suggests interest in a sentence longer than the term Judge Jackson handed out.”

“The White House is pointing to a sealed document to support their unverified claim about a case that was mysteriously excluded from information they provided to Democrats, but not Republicans ahead of Judge Jackson’s hearing. It’s clear from the sentencing transcript that the probation office, which Judge Jackson repeatedly referenced to justify her sentences, wanted a longer sentence in this case,” the GOP aide said.

“Committee Republicans only just got the sentencing transcript for this case on Friday, after the hearing had ended,” the aide added. “Clearly, the White House either didn’t thoroughly vet the nominee, or were aware of the record and they intentionally left it out in hopes that the nominee would be confirmed before the full record could be uncovered and reviewed.”

The cover-up

White House deputy press secretary Andrew Bates pushed back on that in a statement to Fox News and insisted that, somehow, the Cane case actually proved that Jackson’s sentences were “either consistent with or above what the government or the U.S. Probation Office recommended,” and added, “The Cane case further undermines smears that a small number of Republican Senators have made – and which moderates members in both parties have rejected.”

However, Mike Davis of the conservative Article III Project told Fox that “This is a cover-up by the Biden White House and Senate Democrats,” and added, “They’re covering up her record. They intentionally omitted this case from less than a year ago because it did not fit their political narrative.”

Likewise, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), one of those who questioned Jackson on her child porn sentencing record, said in a pair of tweets that this is why all relevant material should be handed over prior to confirmation hearings, and wrote:

“The fact that cases regarding child pornography sentencing were left off the list of child abuse cases provided to the Senate Judiciary Committee requires more scrutiny, not less. All Senators should have access to all relevant materials in a timely and appropriate fashion.”

“When we first highlighted her record on child porn cases, the White House leaked information to their friends in the media and Democrats on the Judiciary Committee,” Sen. Josh Hawley, (R-MO), who first raised the issue, told Fox News. “They hid it from the public despite knowing Judge Jackson gives lenient sentences to criminals. The White House is still refusing to be transparent about Judge Jackson’s record.”

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