Fox News host John Roberts confronted Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) on Wednesday over his suggestion that Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson would have defended Nazi war criminals at the Nuremberg trials.
Cotton’s absurd implication stems from a GOP line of attack focusing on Jackson’s time as a public defender representing Guantanamo Bay detainees accused of terrorism. As a public defender, Jackson was assigned her clients.
“She was in the Federal Public Defender’s office,” Roberts told Cotton on Fox News’ “America Reports.” “She says she did not get to pick and choose her clients. This really is a matter of due process, and I’m wondering, why make that link between Judge Jackson and the Nazis and the Nuremberg trial?”
Cotton noted that Jackson was assigned four suspected terrorists as a public defender but continued to represent one of them after she moved to private practice. He also blasted her for advocating on behalf of those clients while representing them.
“Right. So you don’t think it was a bridge too far to make the link with Nuremberg and Nazis?” Roberts pressed.
“No, John, again, in three separate cases, she was representing not American citizens charged with a crime entitled to due process in our Constitution,” Cotton said, but “foreign terrorists who had committed acts of violence against Americans.”
In fact, the Supreme Court had ruled at the time that Guantanamo Bay detainees were entitled to habeas corpus rights because the U.S. exercised complete jurisdiction and control over the base.
Jackson explained this during her hearings last month. She had also explained that she represented one of the detainees she’d represented as a public defender in private practice because the client was assigned to her firm, unbeknownst to her. She said she was asked to work on their case when the partners realized she had already represented that client.
During a Senate hearing on Tuesday, Cotton said: “You know, the last Judge Jackson left the Supreme Court to go to Nuremberg and prosecute the Nazis,” Cotton said, referring to Robert Jackson, who was appointed by President Harry Truman to lead cases against German war criminals at the trials. “This Judge Jackson may have gone there to defend them.”
After days of hearings and interrogation from Republicans over her record, Jackson will likely earn enough votes to make history as the first Black woman on the Supreme Court by week’s end.