He doubled down later, even after the legal experts weighed in, debunking his allegation.
“I don’t know you well but I’ve been impressed by our interaction, and you’ve been gracious and charming,” Cornyn told Judge Jackson before attempting to malign her. “Why in the world would you call Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld and George W. Bush ‘war criminals’ in a legal filing?”
Judge Jackson looked confused upon hearing the accusation.
“It seems so out of character for you,” he added.
“Senator you may be, are you talking about habeas petitions that I –” Jackson responded.
“I’m talking about when you were representing a member of the Taliban, and the Dept. of Defense identified him as an intelligence officer of the Taliban and you referred to the Secretary of Defense and the sitting President of the United States as ‘war criminals,’” he charged. “Why would you do something like that – it seems so out of character.”
Judge Jackson replied, “Senator, I don’t remember that particular reference, and I was representing my clients and making arguments. I’d have to take a look at what you meant – I did not intend to disparage the President or the Secretary of Defense.”
Angered, Cornyn dispensed with the niceties.
“Well being a war criminal has huge ramifications, you could be subject to the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court, hauled before that international tribunal and charged for war crimes, so it’s not a casual comment I would suggest.”
What is a “casual comment” made without much research is Cornyn’s accusation, which is false, according to legal experts.
University of Texas School of Law law professor Steve Vladeck, an expert on national security law and the prosecution of war crimes, explains, basically, that she did not call them “war criminals,” but cited their offices and in the complaint stated they had committed criminal acts of war.
Others just accepted as fact that Bush and (the late) Donald Rumsfeld are war criminals:
Two things can be true at the same time
Ketanji Brown Jackson never referred to George W. Bush and Donald Rumsfeld as “war criminals”
Also, George W. Bush and Donald Rumsfeld were war criminals
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