People For the American Way

Weaponizing Survivors’ Stories to Attack Judge Jackson

News and Analysis
Weaponizing Survivors’ Stories to Attack Judge Jackson

Throughout her Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson showed the grace under pressure that is an integral component of judicial temperament. Some of the same senators who had promised respect offered up baseless “soft on crime” smears of Judge Jackson’s sentencing record in child pornography cases. They even went so far as to demand confidential information, the release of which could have exacerbated the harms already done to survivors.

As one survivor, Steve Kennedy, wrote in Slate:

I am an infantry veteran of the war in Iraq, part of a huge New York Irish family, and a policy advocate who regularly shares all of my failures for public consumption—I don’t offend easily. Despite all of that, I could barely sit through any of the questioning from those trying to use my pain and the pain of my peers as a cudgel against the only person in the room who actually gave a damn.

Survivor advocates in a New York Times ad:

We denounce those who weaponize survivors’ stories and trauma to score political points. Racism and sexism are two of the largest barriers to justice for survivors, and we condemn the racist and sexist attacks that Judge Jackson has had to endure.

Among them, Black Women’s Leadership Collective:

In the face of false attacks and bullying, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson demonstrated her stellar qualifications, character and deep commitment to our Constitution and the rule of law during her confirmation hearings. It is shameful that in a further attempt to score political points some would weaponize and re-traumatize survivors rather than admit their attacks on Judge Jackson failed.

It’s time to confirm this stellar nominee.


#JusticeForAll, courts matter, Her Fight Our Fight, Ketanji Brown Jackson, SCOTUS, sexual assault, sexual violence, Supreme Court, Take Back Our Courts