Supreme Court nominee Jackson’s judicial philosophy remains mysterious after marathon hearings, Republicans say

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After two marathon days of testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Republicans still say they don’t know enough about the judicial philosophy of Supreme Court nominee Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson.

“I believe we still haven’t heard your judicial philosophy. And I wish I had made more progress with you on that,” Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., told Jackson near the end of Wednesday’s hearing.

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Jackson told Republican senators during the hearing that less than a judicial philosophy, she has a judicial methodology that helps her decide cases. This methodology, she said, begins by approaching the case from a neutral point of view. Then she makes sure she gets information and input from all sides, Jackson said, and enforces the law within “the constraints of my judicial authority.”

Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson testifies during her Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, March 23, 2022.
(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

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“Senator, I have a philosophy,” Jackson told Judiciary Committee filing member Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, on Wednesday. “Philosophy is my methodology.”

Grassley was not satisfied with this response.

“No, no. It’s kind of like, how can you not have a legal philosophy?” he told Fox News Digital. “As it would be saying – how can I run for office [when] I don’t have a political philosophy?

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., left, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, the ranking member, talk as Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson begins on the final day of his confirmation hearing, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, March 23, 2022.

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., left, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, the ranking member, talk as Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson begins on the final day of his confirmation hearing, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, March 23, 2022.
(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

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“Methodology versus philosophy, I think there’s a lot of mixing of terms and trying to use them interchangeably,” Senate Minority Whip John Thune, RS.D., told Fox News Digital. . “But at the end of the day, it really comes down to what you perceive to be the role of a judge in our democracy.”

This lack of clarity does not come from an apparent lack of testing.

Sasse discussed free speech issues among several other issues with Jackson. Grassley asked Jackson how she would weigh precedent in key cases on Wednesday. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, asked about unlisted rights, and Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, asked Jackson about the dormant trade clause.

Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., speaks during the 2016 Annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Md., outside Washington, March 3, 2016.

Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., speaks during the 2016 Annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Md., outside Washington, March 3, 2016.
(SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

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Democrats, however, rejected Republicans’ emphasis on judicial philosophy.

“They’re so stuck in judicial philosophy,” Sen. Maize Hirono, D-Hawaii, told Fox News Digital on Wednesday. “She has a philosophy. That’s how she approaches all her cases, without prejudice and without looking at the end results. It really is a very appropriate approach.”

“You know what judicial philosophy like originalism brings us? [Antonin] Scalia,” Hirono continued. “He writes a big dissent on Obergefell saying there’s nothing in the Constitution that provides for same-sex marriage. So what do we have now? we have justice [Clarence] Thomas and [Samuel] Alito signaling that they would like to revisit Oberfelfell.”

Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson speaks with Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, outside Hirono's office on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, March 8, 2022.

Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson speaks with Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, outside Hirono’s office on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, March 8, 2022.
(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

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Hirono added, “If you don’t think the LGBTQ community – plus the community – out there is really, really worried, they’re very worried.”

“She articulated a judicial philosophy,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., told Fox News Digital. “Her philosophy is to embrace the careful methodology she has articulated.”

“It’s hard to know what he wants from a judicial philosophy,” Blumenthal added of Hawley. “I think he kind of has this myth in his head that judges have a philosophy like they write it down in a notebook or whatever.”

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., briefs the Ukrainian Presidential Office after their meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, Jan. 17, 2022.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., briefs the Ukrainian Presidential Office after their meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, Jan. 17, 2022.
(AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

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Addressing issues of judicial philosophy during Jackson’s hearing, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, DRI., said, “I didn’t know you needed that.”

Whitehouse said the oath Jackson would take and the Constitution itself should be more than enough as a philosophy.

Jackson has finished testifying before the Judiciary Committee, but the hearings are not over. A final day of his hearing will feature testimony from experts from the American Bar Association, as well as outside experts selected by the committee’s minority and majority members.

A screenshot of Senator Lindsey Graham from

A screenshot of Senator Lindsey Graham from “America’s Newsroom” on November 10, 2021
(FoxNews)

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Jackson is widely expected to be confirmed with universal support from Democrats. But the question remains whether or how many Republicans will support Jackson.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, RS.C., told Fox News Digital on Wednesday to “stay tuned” to find out if he would vote for Jackson. Graham was one of three GOP senators to vote for the nominee last year when she was nominated to the United States Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit.

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, was one of the other senators who voted for Jackson last year. She told Fox News Digital on Monday that she was concerned about how Jackson’s legal philosophy was defined during a meeting between the two men earlier this month.

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Collins told Fox News Digital on Wednesday that there was progress over two days of hearings, but she still had questions.

“It was more defined than when he met me, but I still haven’t seen all of the hearings, and obviously there were a lot — there are a lot of issues,” Collins said.