Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) went with his false smear that Judge Jackson is soft on child predators, but it quickly backfired on him.
Hawley tried to paint a picture of the judge as soft on child predators, but Judge Jackson was ready and replied: “Senator, I don’t have the record of that entire case in front of me. What I recall with respect to that case is that, unlike many other child pornography offenders that I had seen as a judge and that I was aware of in my work on the sentencing commission, this particular defendant had just graduated from high school. And some of, perhaps not all when you’re looking at the records, but some of the materials that he was looking at were older teenagers, were older victims. And the point, Senator, is that you said before the probation recommendations and they do so on a case by case basis. That is what Congress requires. This is not done at the level of — ”
Hawley asked, “But you had discretion, judge? ”
Judge Jackson explained to Hawley that if he had a problem with the sentencing, he needs to look in the mirror:
Senator, sentencing is a discretionary act by a judge. I understand that Congress wanted the guidelines to be mandatory. The Supreme Court in 2005 determined that they couldn’t be in an opinion by Justice Scalia, determined that they couldn’t be. And Congress since then has not come back to amend them or change them or make them mandatory again.
So there is discretion at sentencing, and when you look at the sentencing statutes, Congress has given the judges not only the discretion to make the decision but required judges to do so on an individualized basis, taking into account not only the guidelines but also various factors including the age of the defendant, the terrible nature of the crime, the harm to the victims.
All of these factors are taken into account and the probation office assists the court in determining what sentence is sufficient but not greater than necessary. have looked at these from the standpoint of statistics, that you’re questioning whether or not I take them seriously or I have some reason to handle them in either a different way than my peers or a different way And I assure you that I do not, that if you were to look at the greater body of not only my also the sentences of other judges in my district and nationwide, you would see a very similar exercise of attempting to do what it is that judges do, attempting to take into account all of the relevant factors and do justice individually in each case.
Hawley’s smear against Judge Jackson was already widely debunked, but he pushed forward anyway, and the answer that he got was that it was Congress who never passed new legislation on the mandatory sentencing guidelines, so in other words, if Hawley has a problem with judicial discretion in sentencing, he has the ability to do so something about it.
The smear that Hawley was planning ended up blowing up in his face and revealing that problem isn’t with Judge Jackson but with senators like Josh Hawley.
Jason is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association