Fox News anchor John Roberts suggested Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton went a “bridge too far” in stating that Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson would have defended Nazi war criminals on trial at Nuremberg.
On Tuesday, Cotton took to the Senate floor during Jackson’s confirmation hearings to slam her track record as a public defender. A point of contention among many far-right Republicans, he took issue with her representing four suspected terrorists held at Guantanamo Bay and who have since been released without conviction.
“You know, the last Judge Jackson left the Supreme Court to go to Nuremberg to prosecute the case against the Nazis,” Cotton said in the hearings, referring to Robert H. Jackson, who served 1941-1954. “This Judge Jackson might have gone there to defend them.”
Naturally, the senator’s remarks were met with widespread criticism from such organizations as the Anti-Defamation League, who called it “reprehensible” and “trivializing the Holocaust.”
“[Cotton] is twisting this so out of context. It is a wretched display for another Ivy League guy … acting stupid about what happens when you’re a public defender, when you’re assigned the case,” former U.S. Rep. Joe Scarborough said on his talk show “Morning Joe,” additionally calling it “shameful.”
Cotton, who has often appeared as a guest on the network, found himself in the hot seat when Roberts pressed him about his inflammatory remarks. “Again, she was in the federal public defenders’ office. She did not get to pick and choose her clients,” Roberts said on “America Reports.” “This really is a matter of due process, and I’m wondering, why make that link between Judge Jackson and the Nazis and the Nuremberg trial?”
“One of [the four cases,] she continued to represent when she was in private practice and could choose her own clients,” Cotton answered. “She took on two more matters in which she assigned friends of the court briefs in which she was advocating on behalf of Guantanamo terrorists. So it is three case in which she voluntarily advocated for the terrorists at Guantanamo Bay in which she accused American soldiers of committing war crimes. I frankly have no patience for it.”
Roberts, while pressing Cotton initially, stopped short of noting that Guantanamo Bay has a well-documented history of torture and other human rights abuses.
“Right,” Roberts replied. “So you don’t think it was a bridge too far to make the link with Nuremberg and Nazis?”
Again, Cotton defended his statement, adding that non-American citizens are not “entitled to due process in a court of law” and maintaining that she was representing “foreign terrorists who had committed acts of violence against Americans.”
He concluded, “I don’t think she should be on the Supreme Court.”