Jackson Says Precedents 'Entitled to Respect' After Cornyn Cites Abortion

Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson affirmed that she felt all Supreme Court precedents are "entitled to respect" after Texas Republican Senator John Cornyn cited the 1973 abortion case ruling of Roe v. Wade while questioning her during her confirmation hearing on Wednesday.

Cornyn's questions focused on several precedents that conservatives are wishing to be overturned, such as abortion laws or upheld, such as gun rights.

After being pressed by Cornyn on her views regarding fetal viability and other abortion laws, Jackson was asked if she would respect the precedent determined in the District of Columbia v. Heller case from 2008 regarding the Second Amendment.

"All precedents of the Supreme Court have to be respected," Jackson stated.

The District of Columbia was sued in 2008 by a D.C. special police officer named Dick Anthony Heller after he was denied a one-year license for a handgun, according to Supreme Court case archive Oyez. The case questioned whether or not the District of Columbia Code that restricted the licensing of handguns and required any handguns in homes to be kept "nonfunctional" was a violation of the Second Amendment, and it ruled in favor of Heller.

Cornyn then asked Jackson if the Heller case was "equivalent in terms of its precedence to Roe vs. Wade, or would you evaluate it differently?"

"I'm not aware of any ranking or grading of precedence, all precedents of the Supreme Court are entitled to respect on an equal basis," Jackson replied.

Cornyn agreed with Jackson, stating, "It blows my mind when people talk about 'super precedence,' as if somehow one precedent was different in terms of its significance or priority under the Constitution than others."

The discussion of precedents was also brought up earlier on Wednesday in Republican Senator Charles Grassley during his questioning, in which he asked Jackson if the Supreme Court should overturn a precedent if it is determined that the precedent was "wrongly decided."

Jackson responded that there are significant factors to be considered when deciding if the Supreme Court should overturn a precedent, one being if the court agrees the precedent is "egregiously wrong."

"The court does not just look at whether or not [the precedent] is wrong," Jackson said. "It is important that the court takes into account all those factors" because the legal process of determining points in litigation is an "important pillar to the rule of law."

Jackson's hearing is expected to wrap up around 7 p.m. EDT on Wednesday. If confirmed, Jackson would make history being the first Black woman appointed to the Supreme Court.

Senate Holds Supreme Court Confirmation Hearings For
U.S. Supreme Court nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson affirms that all precedents deserve equal respect after being questioned by Senator John Cornyn on Wednesday. Above, Jackson testifies during her confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill March 23 in Washington, D.C. Drew Angerer/Getty Images