The Nation's Elie Mystal said Saturday on MSNBC that by bringing up Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson's record on the U.S. Sentencing Commission, Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., was "trying to get her killed." 

Mystal said he needed the Democrats to "step up" at this week's confirmation hearings for the first Black woman nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court. 

"What Josh Hawley is doing. Let's be very clear. What Josh Hawley is doing when he tries to do this is he's trying to get her killed. He is trying to get violence done against a Supreme Court nominee," Mystal said on MSNBC's "The Cross Connection with Tiffany Cross."



Sen. Josh Hawley meets Supreme Court nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson in his office at the Capitol on March 9, 2022. (Reuters/Evelyn Hockstein)

"We know this because when these people go off, making these claims about child pornography, we know that some of their people show up violently to do stuff," Mystal continued, referring to what happened with the 2017 Pizzagate conspiracy theory and Edgar Maddison Welch. 

He added that he thinks Hawley knows what "Pizzagate is all about" because Jackson was the judge that sentenced Welch, who was responsible for the shooting at Comet Ping Pong, a Washington D.C., pizza parlor, to four years in prison. He also said Democrats "need to know how to defend her."

Host Tiffany Cross asked Mystal about Hawley's allegations, saying it was "quite rich to hear some of the things they're suggesting." Cross also brought up a Politico report that said Republicans plan to keep the hearing "classy" and that they don't really have a "theme" for Jackson's questioning. 

Cross said that "these guys have nothing." Mystal argued Republicans "going to the mattresses" against her would be a waste of time because her confirmation wouldn't change the balance of the court. 


Supreme Court nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson meets with Sen. Lindsey Graham on Capitol Hill March 15, 2022. (Reuters/Jim Bourg)

Hawley, in a recent Twitter thread, highlighted Jackson's record as a member of the U.S. Sentencing Commission and argued that she has a history of "letting child porn offenders off the hook." 

Hawley told Politico after meeting Jackson that he liked her "personally," but had issues with her record on crime. 

"It’s going to be a fair, thorough hearing, and we’re not going to get in the gutter like the Democrats did," Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, told Politico, likely referring to Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation hearing. 


CNN and The Washington Post have reported that Jackson's record was taken out of context and that she has "mostly followed the common judicial sentencing practices" in her cases. 

A fact-check analysis from the Washington Post said that Hawley's notes were "selective" and "lacking significant context" which Hawley has pushed back on as well. The Washington Post claims he "ignores a long debate within the judicial community about whether mandatory minimums were too high." Hawley has pushed back on the fact check on Twitter. 

"Judge Jackson recommended eliminating the five-year minimum sentence for child porn, It's right there in the report," he said in response to the Washington Post's point that the U.S. Sentencing Commission was a bipartisan commission, and that their recommendation was unanimous. 

He said that the other commissioners that supported the "bad recommendation" shouldn't serve on the Supreme Court either. 

Cross also asked Mystal what he considered Jackson's biggest challenge in her confirmation hearings. 

"The biggest challenge is her not getting up out of her chair and punching one of these fools in the mouth," he said as Cross laughed in response. 


Biden nominated Jackson, who, when confirmed, will be the first Black woman to serve as a Supreme Court justice, at the end of February. 


Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer holds up a copy of the U.S. Constitution as he announces his retirement at the White House on Jan. 27, 2022. (Reuters/Kevin Lamarque)

Jackson currently sits on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, a seat she was also nominated to by Biden to replace Attorney General Merrick Garland. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer announced at the end of January that he would be retiring from the court. 

Jackson also served as a clerk to Breyer.