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'I Think That's A Fair Question To Ask': John Kennedy Speaks To Ketanji Brown Jackson

sen. kennedy

At yesterday's Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court, Senator John Kennedy (Republican-LA) spoke about the "appropriate role" of the federal judiciary, calling for federal judges not to make law. His remarks were also reported on his official website.

Sen. Kennedy speaks to Ketanji Brown and said: Congratulations. In addition to honors the wonderful state of Minnesota, and unless you correct me, I am going to assume that your purple attire is also meant to honor LSU and my state.  I want to compliment you and the Biden White House for selecting senator Doug Jones to advise you. Senator Jones knows the senate and the senate knows senator Jones. And we know him to be quite the intellect. 

Talking about the Good judgment and the United States Supreme Court, Kennedy said:

But more importantly, we know him to be a person of good judgment and goodwill. And I am glad that you have been listening to him. I hope we will be able to use this hearing today to talk about, if not implicitly at least implicitly, 2 things. 

The first is the legitimacy of the United States supreme court. Where does the court get its legitimacy? What can we do to enhance it? Judicial legitimacy is important. I don't need to tell you that I'm rather fond of the constitution. I know you are, too. When members of the US supreme court interpret it, I want the American people to believe them. 

I may not agree but the men and women who made that decision are intellectually honest and people of good faith. One of the primary roles of the US supreme court is to uphold the rule of law. And sometimes justices have to uphold the rule of law when it's not popular. Sometimes justices have to uphold the rule of law when it's not popular with the majority of Americans. 

After this Sen. Kennedy talks about the bill of rights, he said:

And I am rather fond of the bill of rights, too. I know you are as well. I have never believed that the bill of rights was there for the high school quarterback or the prom queen. They are covered by it. But the bill of rights is there to protect the rights of people who don't see the world exactly like everybody else. Or who don't look exactly like everybody else. Now, unfortunately, through history, we have had people, some well-unmentioned who tried to delegitimize the supreme court. 

Then, Kennedy mention the US Presidents, he said:

We had a president way back when who tried to impeach a supreme court justice. We had another president who wanted to pack the supreme court. And most of the people who want to delegitimize the supreme court believe that the -- unlike our founders, in my judgment, believe that members of the supreme court ought to be and are politicians in robes. They believe that the American supreme court ought to be a mini congress. They believe that the law is not the law. The law is supposed to just be politics, practiced in a different way. They believe in court-packing. And they are wrong. 

Number 2, I hope today that we can use this as an opportunity to talk about, if not explicitly at least implicitly. That is what I am going to try to do, the appropriate balance between representative government and declarative government. Now, in representative government, as you well know, people, through their elected representatives make policy. And in declarative government, the policy is made by the administrative state and the federal judiciary. Now, both are important. I'm not saying that this is a zero-sum game or either-or. 

Kennedy also spoke about the "appropriate role" of the federal judiciary, calling for federal judges not to make law. In his remarks he said:

But what's just as important is we have the appropriate balance between representative government and what I will call declarative government. I mean, we have an administrative state. Did any of us ever think it would get this big? Is that healthy? We need to ask ourselves that. Is it really healthy to arrive at a circumstance where the administrative state passes thirty-five laws a year to our one? Is it really healthy to have an administrative state that makes its own laws and interprets its own laws and enforces its own laws before courts with respect to which the administrative state appoints the judges? I think that's a fair question to ask. 

These are the few paragraphs of Sen. Kenndy's remarks, you can watch the complete video shown below:



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