Ketanji Brown Jackson’s worrying, outdated thinking on child pornography

In recent weeks, Florida has been the scene of an incredible propaganda campaign to mainstream the sexualization of very young children.

In concert with the far Left’s agenda to intimidate people about the science of sex and gender, major media outlets participated in a deliberately misleading effort to label Florida’s new and much-needed anti-grooming law as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. This is how formerly trusted media sources are labeling a bill that prevents teachers from exposing young children to explicit pornographic and sexual materials or persuading children as young as 4 to “change” their genders without their parents’ consent or knowledge. And in case you think no one does such things, this law came about as a direct result of lawsuits against Florida school districts that did them.

One can glean from this disgraceful episode in Florida that this is no paranoid delusion. There are nefarious forces hell-bent on sexualizing young children in the name of gender ideology, all the way down to kindergarten and preschool. Hardcore gender ideologues, the kind of people who literally believe it is educational and not abusive to teach grade schoolers about BDSM, have used the newfound trendiness of their cause to drag the current political conversation in this direction. And the media watchdogs, who should be warning the public, are instead taking up arms on the side of child groomers.

When adults stop thinking rationally, the criminal justice system is the last resort for the children they let down. It is, therefore, necessary to look carefully at how judges handle defendants found guilty of crimes against children.

Right now, senators have a moral obligation to think very carefully about President Joe Biden’s new Supreme Court nominee, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, and her record in handling defendants convicted of crimes against children.

Missouri Republican Sen. Josh Hawley began the discussion of Jackson’s record last week, describing on Twitter how, in multiple criminal child pornography cases, she has departed downward from the sentencing guidelines. She has handed out light prison sentences, in many cases the minimum legal sentence, even to those caught possessing massive quantities of the stuff and even sharing it online.

Jackson once served on the U.S. Sentencing Commission, where she advocated the abolition of mandatory minimum sentences for those caught with child pornography. Even before that, she had supported freeing such convicts from the obligation to register as sex offenders once freed from prison. This is disturbing because, dating back to the 1980s, research has consistently pointed to a correlation between the use of child pornography and child molestation. According to the Mayo Clinic, as many as 80% of those who view child pornography have also molested a child in real life. This is why such registries, while perhaps not appropriate for every sex-related crime, are necessary for such offenders. Parents need to know if convicted addicts of child pornography end up in their neighborhoods because it means their children are at risk.

Jackson’s thinking on this topic is that such potentially lifelong punishments are just examples of “stigmatization” and “revenge” against those who harm children. But this is at least 20 years behind the current thinking on this topic. The Catholic Church learned the hard way, through its own shameful child-sex scandals, that the rehabilitation of such offenders is simply impossible. And the church’s belated application of that lesson (among others) has been highly effective in curbing new abuse cases.

Of the 3,766 credible church-related abuse allegations brought forward in the United States between 2019 and 2020, only 39 of them (or roughly 1%) related to abuse that occurred in 2010 or later. Most of these newly reported abuse cases occurred between 1960 and 1990, back when Jackson’s current views on sex offenders dominated among psychiatric professionals and the church was helping abusers avoid criminal justice and disgracefully shuffling them back into parishes after a few years of therapy.

The question that senators need to be asking right now is whether this moment, with the nation suffering from its leaders’ general softness on crime and amid an organized effort to mainstream the sexualization of children, is the correct moment to send someone with Jackson’s record to the Supreme Court. At the very least, Jackson needs to be asked about her puzzling and disturbing positions with respect to this timely issue.