All eyes are on Sen. Josh Hawley during the confirmation hearings for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson and “we should all prepare for his funeral tomorrow.” Hawley made waves with a Twitter thread “cherry-picking” from Jackson’s record and speeches and suggesting she might be soft on sexual offenders where children are involved. Hawley’s sticking by his thread with a retweet of the Washington Examiner.

We’re not sure if this fact-check was done by NBC News and picked up by NBC Chicago or if NBC Chicago did it, but either way, Will Weissert and Calvin Woodward make it clear that Republicans are “twisting” Jackson’s record.

So? What about Hawley’s claim that Jackson has sentenced child sex offenders to sentences shorter than the suggested minimum guidelines? Our fact-checkers write:

She told the [sentencing] hearing she was surprised at a Justice Department expert’s testimony that, as she put it, some child-sex offenders may actually “not be pedophiles” but perhaps “loners” looking for like-minded company in child pornography circles. Being surprised by an assertion and wanting to know more are not the same as endorsing it.

From those questions, Hawley extrapolated that Jackson had drawn conclusions, when she hadn’t.

But several behavioral science researchers testified at that hearing that there may be nonsexual motivations among a portion of child-sex criminals. It is not a radical view. And many judges do see a distinction between those who produce child pornography and those who receive it.

It’s not a radical view among some researchers that pedophilia isn’t a crime but just another misunderstood sexual orientation. Salon was blasted last fall for “trying to mainstream pedophilia” in an article titled, “I’m a pedophile, but not a monster.” Just this January, USA Today wrote that “there’s a lot we’re misunderstanding” about pedophilia. Slate pondered if pedophilia was a crime to be punished. We note that the New York Times has deleted its repugnant headline about pedophilia. Into the memory hole it goes, along with Salon’s articles.

So yeah, maybe she was just asking questions. That still doesn’t explain the under-sentencing of sex offenders noted in Hawley’s thread. Is it really so wrong for senators to want to clarify a Supreme Court nominee’s thinking on the issue?

It really isn’t a fact-check at all. Take the specific cases Hawley cited, and then “fact-check” whether or not Jackson was lenient in her sentencing.



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