by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Supreme Court frontrunner Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson was an active and dedicated advocate for terror suspects housed at Guantanamo Bay, contrary to press accounts and her own representations.
Jackson has portrayed her work for the detainees as that of a disinterested professional fulfilling an assignment. But a Washington Free Beacon review of court filings dating back to 2005 indicates that Jackson was deeply committed to equal treatment for accused terrorists. Her advocacy was zealous and often resembled ideological cause lawyering, even in her capacity as a public defender. At times, she flirted with unsubstantiated left-wing theories that were debunked by government investigators. On other occasions, she accused Justice Department lawyers of egregious misconduct with little evidence.
As a federal public defender, Jackson represented a Guantanamo detainee accused of attacking a U.S. military base in Afghanistan. She continued to advocate on behalf of detainees and attack Bush-era detention policies in the Supreme Court after she left public service for private practice.
President Joe Biden’s approval numbers tumbled after the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan last summer. A retread of the War on Terror could be unwelcome for the administration, especially as new developments reveal the extent of the government’s ineptness. Leaked Situation Room documents released by Axios Wednesday show that top administration officials were scrambling to plan a mass evacuation of civilians as late as Aug. 14, the day before Taliban forces reached Kabul. The White House did not respond to the Free Beacon‘s request for comment.
Jackson’s public defender unit was charged with representing Guantanamo inmates who challenged their incarceration in a federal court in Washington, D.C. Jackson’s client was a detainee named Khiali-Gul, who maintained that he was an innocent man wrongfully detained.