Biden pick for Supreme Court represented terrorist suspects as public defender

Ketanji Brown Jackson's record defending Guantanamo Bay detainees may be problematic for confirmation process.

Published: February 25, 2022 12:39pm

Updated: February 25, 2022 6:38pm

President Biden's nominee for the Supreme Court advocated on behalf of suspected terrorists as a federal public defender, castigating the U.S. government for some of its approaches to the so-called War on Terror.

The White House announced Friday that Biden has selected Ketanji Brown Jackson to be his nominee to replace retiring Justice Stephen Breyer on the nation's highest court.

One potentially major hurdle in the Senate confirmation process could be her record defending people detained at the Guantanamo Bay military prison as enemy combatants for their alleged role in terrorist activities.

In one case, Jackson defended Guantanamo Bay detainee Khiali-Gul, who the Defense Department said was a Taliban intelligence officer in charge of a terrorist cell planning to attack a U.S. base in Afghanistan in 2002.

The Defense Department assessed that, if released, Gul would immediately "seek out prior associates and reengage in hostilities and extremist support activities."

While representing Gul, Jackson accused the U.S. of torturing terrorists and attacked the George W. Bush administration for its policies to wage the War on Terror. Jackson continued to speak out in defense of Guantanamo Bay prisoners after leaving the government and entering private practice.

During Jackson's confirmation hearing in 2012 to be a judge on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, Republican senators grilled the nominee on her work for Guantanamo Bay detainees. Jackson responded she was doing her job for a client and her views expressed in the case didn't necessarily represent her personal views.

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