American Bar Association panel: Ketanji Brown Jackson is ‘a great jurist’ ‘without any bias’

“His intelligence is simply formidable”

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson received the highest professional rating from the American Bar Association, and on Thursday several of the group’s leaders appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee to discuss why she ranked so highly.

The ABA Standing Committee does not recommend judges, but rather assesses their qualifications to serve on the federal bench, Bloomberg Law said. To establish Jackson’s ranking, committee members interviewed more than 250 judges, attorneys, and others who interacted with Jackson in the courtroom, and also reviewed writings and public documents regarding his cases.

Earlier this week, several Republican senators, including Ted Cruz of Texas and Josh Hawley of Missouri, attempted to paint Jackson as soft on crime, and D. Jean Veta, co-lead evaluator of Jackson’s exam, said rejected their demands on Thursday. “Notably, no judge, defense attorney, or prosecutor has expressed concern in this regard, and they have uniformly dismissed any accusation of bias,” Veta told the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Veta said “a senior attorney in the U.S. Attorney’s Office” told reviewers he “vehemently” disagrees with the idea that Jackson is too soft on offenders, and another prosecutor who has appeared before Jackson on several occasions said the allegation “absolutely…not confirmed based on my experience with her.” Instead, Veta continued, prosecutors “praised Judge Jackson as a judge who considers all the arguments before making a decision.”

Joseph Drayton, a member of the ABA’s standing committee, said in an interview about Jackson, “We pushed, we asked those prosecutors and those defense attorneys questions.” What they learned was that “Jackson’s intellect is just terrific,” Veta said. “She has all the other important attributes of a great lawyer. She is practical and intuitive and curious and courteous and always impeccably well prepared.”

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