U.S. Sen. Rick Scott has ramped up the pressure on President Joe Biden to do more to stop Vladimir Putin’s attack on Ukraine.

GOP Sen. Scott Joins Effort To Toughen Penalties On Child-Porn Defendants

With three liberal Republican senators on her side, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson seems destined for a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court.

The traditional Republicans in the Senate may not have sufficient power to ensure President Joe Biden’s liberal-activist judge won’t be in a policy-making role for decades to come.

But led partly by U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, they are trying to limit the damage she and other judges on the left can do.

Scott recently backed Sen. Josh Hawley’s PROTECT Act of 2022, which toughens penalties for the sexual exploitation of children.

A press release issued by Hawley’s office noted that federal law slaps a five-year mandatory minimum on those convicted of “receiving” child pornography, but not for possessing it.

Hawley’s bill aligns the penalties by applying a five-year mandatory-minimum sentence to both crimes “to ensure that every child pornography offender goes to jail.”

Moreover, the release pointed out that a Supreme Court ruling holds that recommended sentencing guidelines cannot be binding if based on facts found by a judge after trial.

Hawley’s bill would prohibit federal judges from sentencing below such guidelines for facts found during the trial or admitted by the defendant.

“This change will ensure that judges impose tougher sentences on child pornography offenders,” Hawley’s office said in the statement.

That was a point of contention during Jackson’s confirmation hearings, when Republicans kept raising the issue of her relatively lenient sentences in child-porn cases.

Hawley noted, “The epidemic of child pornography in the United States is growing exponentially.”

A little more than a decade ago, the internet contained less than 1 million images of child sexual abuse material. As of 2018, it had skyrocketed to 45 million, and then nearly doubled – to 85 million – in 2021.

“While the White House continues to dismiss concerns about leniency toward child porn offenders as a ‘desperate conspiracy theory,’ the numbers speak for themselves,” Hawley said. “Congress must act before this problem becomes even worse.”

In a statement, Sen. Scott noted, “Our communities must be protected from sick individuals who exploit and victimize children, and also from liberal activist judges who abuse their sentencing discretion to let offenders off the hook.”

“Federal sentencing guidelines for these heinous crimes are critical and I am proud to support this good bill to ensure guidelines are strictly enforced.”

Besides Hawley and Scott, the bill is endorsed by GOP Sens. Mike Lee of Utah and Thom Tillis of North Carolina. Rep. Ken Buck, a Colorado Republican, is introducing the House version.

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