Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson was asked by Sen. Patrick Leahy, a Democrat from Vermont, about accusations that she is "soft on crime or even anti law enforcement" because she worked as a public defender during her career.
Jackson noted in her response that she has multiple family members who have worked as police officers. She said that her brother worked as a police officer in Baltimore, and has two uncles who had careers in law enforcement — one who became the Chief of Police of the City of Miami Police Department in the 1990s.
"As someone who has had family members on patrol and in the line of fire, I care deeply about public safety. I know what it's like to have loved ones who go off to protect and to serve and the fear of not knowing whether or not they're going to come home again because of crime in the community."
She said that crime, its effects on the community, and the need for law enforcement "are not abstract concepts or political slogans to me."
Jackson went on to say that as a lawyer and as a citizen, "I care deeply about our Constitution and the rights that make us free."
"As you say, criminal defense lawyers perform a service and our system is exemplary throughout the world precisely because we ensure that people who are accused of crimes are treated fairly," she said to Leahy and the committee.
She said that it's important to her that people are "held accountable for committing crimes, but we have to do so fairly, under our Constitution."
"As a judge who has to decide how to handle these cases, I know it's important to have arguments from both sides, to have competent counsel and it doesn't mean that lawyers condone the behavior of their clients. They're making arguments on behalf of their clients, in defense of the Constitution and in service of the court. And it is a service."
Read more about her record on crime here: