Today U.S. Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) delivered his closing statement in the Senate Judiciary Markup for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s Supreme Court nomination.
In his closing statement, Senator Hawley reinforced his stance against Judge Jackson’s record for lenient sentencing for pedophiles, and continued to express his opposition to her nomination. Judge Jackson refused to respond when asked about her sentencing record in various child pornography cases during her confirmation hearings.
Senator Hawley said, “We’ve heard in Judge Jackson’s defense, and I don’t know if it’s really much of a defense – I know she didn’t say these things – but in her defense, by the White House and members of this committee, we’ve been told things like ‘child pornography is actually all a conspiracy, it’s not real, it’s just a conspiracy, it’s made up.’ Let me just say for the record, sex crimes against children are not fiction. They are not a conspiracy.”
He continued, “There are 85 million images of children being exploited available on the internet. I’m a former prosecutor. These are real crimes. I’m a father of three young children. These are real children. And these aren’t victimless crimes. Just because they’re images doesn’t mean real kids aren’t involved. As we heard testimony from prosecutors and experts just two weeks ago, child pornography creates a cycle of trafficking, of exploitation, of abuse. It is the children here who are the victims, not the criminals. On that core point, I disagree fundamentally with Judge Jackson. I wish her well, but I cannot support her nomination.”
In response to the growing epidemic of child pornography in the United States, Senator Hawley introduced the PROTECT Act of 2022, which protects children from sexual exploitation by enhancing the penalties for possessing child pornography and by preventing judges from sentencing offenders below federal guidelines.
View legislative text for the PROTECT Act of 2022 here.