Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson defended her sentencing record in child pornography cases as a district court judge and her representation of Guantánamo detainees as a federal public defender at the outset of her second day of confirmation hearings for a seat on the Supreme Court. Democrats used their early questions to give Jackson a chance to respond to Republican accusations that she has been soft on crime.

“I understand how significant, how damaging, how horrible this crime is,” Jackson said in response to a question from Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) on sentencing in child pornography cases. Jackson told senators that public defenders do not get to pick their clients.

Jackson also told senators that she believes the two landmark decisions that made abortion legal in the United States are “settled law.” She fielded a wide array of queries from the first two Republican questioners. Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (S.C.) used part of his time to press Jackson on her views about policy matters affecting detainees at Guantánamo Bay and said he was troubled by support for her nomination by “left-wing radical groups.”

Here’s what to know

  • During an opening statement Monday, Jackson promised she would be an independent jurist. She reiterated that Tuesday, saying: “I don’t think that anyone can look at my record and say that it is pointing in one direction or another.”
  • If confirmed, Jackson would be the first Black woman on the Supreme Court in its 233-year history.
  • The 22 senators on the Judiciary Committee are getting 30 minutes apiece to ask questions Tuesday. Senators will get a second chance to question Jackson on Wednesday. Thursday will feature testimony from outside witnesses. Durbin has set a goal of confirming Jackson before the Easter recess, which is scheduled to begin April 8.
  • Jackson, 51, has been nominated by President Biden to replace retiring Justice Stephen G. Breyer. Breyer, 83, the high court’s oldest justice, has been a reliable liberal vote….