‘Could You Fairly Judge a Catholic?’: Sen. Graham Presses Ketanji Brown Jackson on Faith Issues
The exchange took place on the second day of Jackson’s confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., on Tuesday pressed Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson on the importance of her Christian faith, asking at one point, “Could you fairly judge a Catholic?”
The exchange took place Tuesday in the early hours of the second day of Jackson’s confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Currently a federal judge serving on the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, Jackson, 54, is President Joe Biden’s nominee to replace retiring Justice Stephen Breyer.
“What faith are you, by the way?” Graham asked.
“Senator, I am … Protestant,” Jackson said.
“Okay …” the senator said, indicating that he wanted Jackson to elaborate.
“Nondenominational,” Jackson added.
“Okay. Could you fairly judge a Catholic?”
“Senator, I have a record of fairly judging everyone,” Jackson responded.
“I’m just asking this question because, how important is your faith to you?”
“Senator, personally, my faith is very important,” Jackson said. “But as you know, there’s no religious test in the Constitution under Article 6, and —”
“There will be none with me,” Graham interjected.
“And … it’s very important to set aside one’s personal views about things, in the role of a judge,” Jackson continued.
“I couldn’t agree with you more, and I believe you can,” Graham said. “So, on a scale of 1 to 10, how faithful would you say you are?”
He added that he attends his own Baptist church “probably three times a year, so that speaks poorly of me.”
Graham asked: “Do you attend church regularly?”
“Well, senator, I am reluctant to talk about my faith in this way, just because I want to be mindful of the need for the public to have confidence in my ability to separate out my personal view.”
“How would you feel if a senator up here said of your faith that ‘the dogma lives loudly within you, and that’s of concern?’” Graham also asked, continuing shortly thereafter, “They said it about Judge Barrett,” in reference to Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation hearing.
Graham added, “Judge Barrett, I felt, was treated very, very poorly, so I just wanted to get that out.”
Tuesday’s hearing is scheduled to conclude at 8pm Eastern.
Register staff added to this report.