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  5. White House chief of staff Ron Klain hits back at Sen. Ted Cruz for saying Ketanji Brown Jackson would be 'the furthest-left justice' in Supreme Court history

White House chief of staff Ron Klain hits back at Sen. Ted Cruz for saying Ketanji Brown Jackson would be 'the furthest-left justice' in Supreme Court history

Jake Lahut,Oma Seddiq   

White House chief of staff Ron Klain hits back at Sen. Ted Cruz for saying Ketanji Brown Jackson would be 'the furthest-left justice' in Supreme Court history
  • Ron Klain, the White House chief of staff, on Monday called out Sen. Ted Cruz.
  • Cruz had said the Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson would be "the most extreme" justice.

The White House chief of staff, Ron Klain, on Monday called out Republican Sen. Ted Cruz's comments about Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, President Joe Biden's Supreme Court nominee.

In response to a clip of Cruz claiming that Jackson would be "the furthest-left justice" in the Supreme Court's 233-year history, Klain tweeted, "Nothing in Judge Jackson's record, experience, or temperament supports this assertion."

Cruz, who's said he opposes Jackson's confirmation and grilled her during her confirmation hearings, made the statement as the Senate Judiciary Committee met to consider Jackson's nomination on Monday.

"There have been 115 men and women who have served on the Supreme Court. If Judge Jackson is confirmed, I believe she will prove to be the most extreme and the furthest-left justice ever to serve on the United States Supreme Court," Cruz said during the panel's hearing.

Since Biden announced Jackson as his nominee in late February, the White House has forcefully dismissed GOP criticisms of her and her record.

Cruz and several other Republican senators have alleged that Jackson is "soft on crime" because of her sentencing record on child-pornography cases while she served as a federal district judge. Republicans have seized on a handful of cases in which Jackson imposed shorter sentences than those recommended by the federal guidelines to claim that she's lenient toward offenders.

Legal experts, however, have widely described the accusations as baseless, saying they lack key context and data that shows Jackson's record mirrors that of most federal judges, and described the sentencing guidelines as outdated and overly severe.

During the confirmation hearings, Cruz pressed Jackson for her views on culture-war issues including critical race theory. Jackson repeatedly emphasized that critical race theory plays no part in her jurisprudence.

A spokesperson for Cruz slammed Klain, telling Insider in a statement on Monday that the White House chief of staff "is firing out tweets to distract from the fact that he is overseeing an administration that is flailing both domestically and internationally."

"Judge Jackson has a disturbing record of being soft-on-crime, including handing down lenient sentences in child pornography cases below national averages," the spokesperson said. "Judge Jackson has also embraced Critical Race Theory in formulating sentencing policy and refused to define what a 'woman' was during her confirmation hearing."

Jackson defended her record at her confirmation hearings, saying she decides cases from a "neutral posture" and "without fear or favor."

She's received endorsements from top law-enforcement officials and organizations, which have rebuked the GOP accusations against her. Legal figures on the left and the right, including both Democratic- and Republican-appointed judges, have also supported Jackson's nomination.

J. Michael Luttig, a retired federal judge and high-profile conservative legal figure who has endorsed Jackson's nomination, also criticized Cruz's claims.

"I would not hesitate to retract my endorsement of Judge Jackson for the Supreme Court if there were anything at all to Senator Cruz's statement, but there is not," Luttig tweeted on Monday. "In fact, quite the opposite is the case."

Cruz is widely considered a potential 2024 White House contender, should Donald Trump not run. His criticism of Jackson during the confirmation hearings was seen in part as an appeal to likely voters in the next presidential race, Insider's Warren Rojas reported.

The Senate Judiciary Committee is set to vote on Jackson's nomination on Monday; the panel is expected to be tied 11-11. That would force Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to invoke special procedures to push Jackson's nomination forward. Her final confirmation vote before the full Senate is likely to take place later this week. If confirmed, Jackson would make history as the first Black woman on the Supreme Court.


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