Josh Hawley Lists 7 'Lenient' Ketanji Brown Jackson Child Porn Sentencings

Republican Senator Josh Hawley, ahead of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson's confirmation hearing, doubled down on his accusations that she is too "soft" on child pornography cases, listing seven cases, in which he says her sentencing was too lenient.

Some GOP senators have raised concerns Jackson's record ahead of her confirmation hearing, with Hawley accusing her of having a "pattern of letting child porn offenders off the hook for their appalling crimes" in a Twitter thread last week.

He again presented his argument during his opening remarks Monday, listing seven cases in which Jackson gave sentences that were lower than federal guidelines and prosecutors' recommendations—though defenders have said the sentencing guidelines are too harsh.

Here are the cases he mentioned:

  1. United States v. Hawkins: In this case, Jackson sentenced the defendant to three months for distribution and possession of child pornography.
  2. United States v. Chazin: Jackson sentenced the defendant, who possessed 48 files of child pornography, to 28 months in prison.
  3. United States v. Cooper: Jackson sentenced the defendant, who distributed dozens of files of child pornography, 60 months in prison.
  4. United States v. Downs: Jackson sentenced the defendant, who 33 "graphics images and videos" of child sexual assault, to 60 month in prison.
  5. United States v. Stewart: Jackson sentenced the defendant to 57 months in prison
  6. United States v. Sears: Jackson sentences the defendant to 71 months in prison
  7. United States v. Savage: Jackson sentenced a defendant who had six thumb drives of child pornography to 37 months in prison.

Democrats and legal experts, however, have defended Jackson's record.

"In the vast majority of cases involving child sex crimes broadly, the sentences Judge Jackson imposed were consistent with or above what the government or U.S. probation recommended," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said during a press briefing on Friday.

Conservative columnist and former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy also defended Jackson in a column in the National Review, writing of her viewpoint that many others within the legal system—including conservatives—also believe that mandatory minimums for first-time offenders for child pornography possession is "draconian."

"The implication that she has a soft spot for 'sex offenders' who 'prey on children' because she argued against a severe mandatory-minimum prison sentence for the receipt and distribution of pornographic images is a smear," he wrote.

During his opening remarks, Hawley responded to that criticism.

"I've heard that argument a lot in recent days," he said. "I can't say that I agree with that."

Other Republicans have also weighed in on her qualifications. Some, including Maine Senator Susan Collins, have praised her as "impressive." But others continue to push the criticism that she is soft on crime. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said last week: "Her service as a criminal defense lawyer and on the U.S. sentencing commission give her special empathy for convicted criminals."

Senator Lindsey Graham on Monday said that the confirmations hearings will not "be like a circus," pledging that "no Republican senator is going to unleash on you an attack about your character when the hearing is virtually over."

Hawley lists Judge Jackson's lenient cases
Senator Josh Hawley, above, listed seven cases he says Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson was too lenient in sentencing those accused of possessing or distributing child pornography. Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images