56 Organizations Denounce Some Senators’ Insidious Behavior and Unfounded Attacks on Judge Jackson

Contact: Rafael Medina, [email protected], 202.869.0390

WASHINGTON — The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, joined by 55 organizations, raised serious concerns about some senators’ baseless and harmful attacks on Judge Jackson’s record. The letter addresses this insidious behavior, counters the reckless attacks on public defenders and criminal defense attorneys, and corrects the record on Judge Jackson’s sentencing practices.

The groups’ letter reads, in part, “Attacks made on Judge Jackson’s service as a federal public defender and the clients she vigorously represented are spurious and undermine one of the central tenets of our democracy. The right to counsel is one of our nation’s most bedrock principles, helping to fulfill the constitutional promise of a fair trial and the Sixth Amendment’s right to counsel. The Supreme Court has reinforced the right to counsel, considering it a ‘fundamental right essential to a fair trial.’ Thus, the work of public defenders and criminal defense lawyers is critical. Those who enter public service as public defenders and criminal defense lawyers — like Judge Jackson and so many others — should be commended, not maligned.” The letter continues, “The attacks on Judge Jackson’s record grossly mischaracterize her work and threaten the ideals of our democracy. Despite these inappropriate and knowingly misleading attacks, Judge Jackson showed a poised and patient judicial temperament, reminding senators that constitutional protections are not privileges reserved for a select few, but rights afforded to us all. This is a much-needed perspective on our highest court.”

The letter adds, “Attacks on Judge Jackson’s sentencing record in non-production child sexual abuse material cases are baseless. As those who have closely studied this issue explain, Judge Jackson’s sentences were well within the range of her peers. The 2021 U.S. Sentencing Commission report noted that less than 30 percent of people convicted of non-production child sexual abuse material offenses received a sentence within the guideline range. Such discrepancies were also described to Congress in a 2012 report by the U.S. Sentencing Commission. In these reports, the commission recommended Congress change the guidelines, yet ‘[t]o date, Congress has not implemented the Commission’s statutory or guideline recommendations.’ It is within Congress’ authority, not the courts’, to update sentencing guidelines.”

The letter can be read in its entirety here.

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 230 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. The Leadership Conference works toward an America as good as its ideals. For more information on The Leadership Conference and its member organizations, visit www.civilrights.org.