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- We found no evidence that Jackson has stated support for defunding the police, abolishing ICE, or open borders.
During the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings for U.S. Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson, Republican senators excoriated her as weak on law enforcement, sometimes by making misleading statements about her sentencing of child pornography offenders and the release of jail inmates.
None of the senators accused Jackson of wanting to defund the police or to abolish Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
But that was the attack made by Mick McGuire, a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Arizona.
McGuire claimed that Jackson has "a weak record — defund police, abolish ICE and now a completely open border policy."
We found no evidence that Jackson has a record on defunding the police, abolishing ICE or supporting a completely open border — positions that undoubtedly would have drawn sharp criticism during the hearings.
McGuire’s campaign did not respond by our deadline to our requests for evidence for the claim. After we published this fact-check, a campaign spokesperson said McGuire was "referencing the movement of the Left, not a specific reference to Ms. Brown Jackson." That contradicts McGuire’s own comments, which were directly about Jackson.
Calls to "defund the police" emerged following the 2020 murder by a white Minneapolis police officer of George Floyd, a Black man. Some activists called for eliminating police departments entirely, while others wanted to reexamine the functions of police departments and redirect some of their funding to other services.
Jackson has several family members, including a brother, who have served as police officers. The International Association of Chiefs of Police and the Fraternal Order of Police have endorsed her nomination.
Jackson has been a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit since 2021, having been nominated to that court by President Joe Biden, who also nominated her to the Supreme Court. Before that, she was a judge on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, appointed by President Barack Obama in 2013. She also worked as a federal public defender, and would be the first Supreme Court justice to do so.
There is no mention of defunding police in a 78-page review of Jackson’s record by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service. The Republican National Committee made no mention of police in its news release entitled, "Biden’s Pick Is A Radical, Left-Wing Activist Who Will Rubberstamp His Failed Agenda." And we found no other statements by the committee related to McGuire’s claim.
After searching on Google and Nexis, a research database, we found no statements by Jackson showing support for defunding the police.
Jackson has written three legal opinions considering challenges to the Department of Homeland Security’s expedited removal of immigrants illegally in the United States. In two of them, she ruled in favor of the challenges, according to the Congressional Research Service report. ICE is part of the department.
But that "sample size is too small to support firm predictions about how she might approach immigration law matters more generally," the report said.
In any case, those rulings were on a specific immigration policy. We found no statements by Jackson indicating she wanted ICE abolished, or open borders.
It’s unclear what’s McGuire’s interpretation of "open border." Some regard the term as no enforcement of immigration laws at U.S. borders, others apply it to lax immigration policies.
The Senate Judiciary Committee, divided 11-11 between Democrats and Republicans, is expected to vote on Jackson’s nomination on April 4. A final vote would then come from the full Senate, which is divided 50-50, but Vice President Kamala Harris, a Democrat, could break a tie vote.
McGuire is running in the Aug. 2 primary against several other major Republican candidates: Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, businessman Blake Masters, businessman Jim Lamon and Justin Olson, a member of the state utility commission.
The winner will take on Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly. He won the seat in a 2020 special election that was held to replace the late John McCain, a Republican.
McGuire said Jackson has "a weak record — defund police, abolish ICE and now a completely open border policy."
There is no evidence that Jackson has stated support for any of those measures.
The baseless statement is false and ridiculous. We rate it Pants on Fire!
PolitiFact staff researcher Caryn Baird contributed to this report.
UPDATE, March 28, 2022: This fact-check has been updated to include a response we received from the McGuire campaign after publication.
Meta, Mick McGuire’s Ketanji Brown Jackson ad on Facebook and Instagram (1:30), started running March 24, 2022
Fox Business, interview (3:00), March 22, 2022
Politico, "Police chiefs back Ketanji Brown Jackson for Supreme Court," March 14, 2022
Lawfare, "Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson on National Security Law: A Reader’s Guide," March 21, 2022
Congressional Research Service, The Nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court, March 14, 2022
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