How Ketanji Brown Jackson, Biden's SCOTUS Pick, Ruled in Trump Cases

The Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday will begin a set of hearings on President Joe Biden's nominee for the Supreme Court, Ketanji Brown Jackson. During the hearing, cases that Jackson has already presided over while working as a judge in Washington, D.C., related to former President Donald Trump could be scrutinized.

Biden was responsible for appointing Jackson, 51, to her current position on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. Previously, Jackson was nominated to serve as a district court judge in D.C. by then-President Barack Obama in 2012. She served there for 8-1/2 years and heard high-profile political cases, including one involving Donald F. McGahn II.

In 2019, Jackson ruled that McGahn, the former White House counsel to Trump, was compelled to obey a congressional subpoena to testify about Trump's alleged attempt to obstruct the Russia investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller.

Ketanji Brown Jackson
Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia is rumored to be a top pick on President Joe Biden's list of potential replacements for Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer. This file photo shows Jackson testifying before a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on pending judicial nominations on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on April 28, 2021. Tom Williams/Pool Photo via AP, File

In her 120-page decision, Jackson wrote: "Presidents are not kings. This means that they do not have subjects, bound by loyalty or blood, whose destiny they are entitled to control. Rather, in this land of liberty, it is indisputable that current and former employees of the White House work for the People of the United States, and that they take an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

The ruling was appealed by Trump's Justice Department, but McGahn later testified after a deal was made with House Democrats and the Biden administration to end the lawsuit.

More recently, Jackson was part of a three-judge panel charged with hearing Trump's challenge to a congressional subpoena for White House records related to the riot at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021.

The panel ruled in December that Congress is entitled to see records from the White House related to the siege and rejected Trump's claim that he retained the power to keep the materials secret. The ruling stated any residual secrecy powers held by Trump did not outweigh Congress' oversight force or Biden's decision not to invoke executive privilege over the records.

In January, the Supreme Court affirmed that decision by refusing a request from Trump to block the release of those records.

Jackson does not require any GOP support from the split Senate to be confirmed to the high court, but she may still win over some Republican senators. When she successfully passed the Senate confirmation last year for her current position, three Republicans—Susan Collins of Maine, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska—voted for her.

Jackson also has at least one high-profile Republican in her family, albeit by marriage. Her husband is the twin brother of Paul Ryan's brother-in-law. Ryan, the former House speaker and vice presidential candidate running mate to Mitt Romney in 2012, praised her in a recommendation during her 2012 confirmation hearing to the district court.

Update 03/21/22 11:40 a.m. ET: This has been updated with more current information about about the confirmation hearings of Ketanji Jackson Brown.