Republican Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri on Monday turned the tables on an ABC News reporter who wanted to poke holes in his concerns that Supreme Court nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson is reluctant to punish sex offenders.
Hawley’s office released a recording of ABC News reporter Rachel Scott taking Hawley to task, claiming that his position on Jackson was in conflict with his past stances on other federal judges.
The senator then suggested that the reporter do some research rather than adopting White House talking points before asking questions.
The recording begins with Hawley trying to explain that he holds a Supreme Court nominee to a higher standard than a nominee for any other court.
“But how is it acceptable for a lower court if it wasn’t, if it’s not acceptable for a higher court?” Scott asked him.
Hawley tried to explain to Scott that his concern with Jackson was not confined to one case or comment.
“I’m not sure which judges you’re referring to, if there are judges who have been soft on child porn offenders, in a systematic kind of pattern,” he said, adding, “But again, I’ve only voted for one Supreme Court justice.”
Scott insisted she knew Hawley’s voting record better than he did. “We have looked through your record and it shows that you have voted for at least three federal judges that have imposed lighter sanctions on child porn offenders,” she said. “So how do you square that?”
“Same answer: not for this court,” the senator responded. “And, I think this pattern is going to be a problem wherever I’m aware of it.”
“I know that’s the White House talking point, but I think it’s a dangerous one,” he continued. “You gotta be careful with that. You know, it’s the old, ‘Well, everyone else is jumping off a cliff, so I will, too.’”
As the two went back and forth, Hawley asked Scott to name the cases that she claimed proved he supported soft-on-crime judges.
“You voted for them, shouldn’t you be familiar with their record, as well?” Scott said.
“But what were the cases?” Hawley asked repeatedly.
After his opening statement at Judge Jackson's nomination hearing, ABC News tried to play “gotcha” with Sen. Hawley, repeating the White House's latest talking points verbatim. But when pressed on the facts, they had nothing.
Hear the full exchange below. pic.twitter.com/zGDsmVY2QT
— Senator Hawley Press Office (@SenHawleyPress) March 21, 2022
No answer followed.
“You don’t know their record. So you haven’t looked that up,” Hawley said.
“What cases? Was it after their confirmation or before?” he asked.
“Do you expect me to just –,” Scott began.
“Well, I expect you to know the facts since you’re asking me about them,” Hawley said.“So, how many cases did they have? Judge Jackson had seven, I just listed them. So what are the ones that these judges have?”
“More to the point, senator –,” the reporter said, trying to recover.
“So, you don’t know,” he said.
“You’re just here to do a ‘gotcha.’ When you know and get the facts, come back to me,” Hawley said, ending the exchange. “Good luck!”