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Ketanji Brown Jackson confirmation to Supreme Court likely as 3 Republicans signal support

Ketanji Brown Jackson
U.S. Supreme Court nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson testifies during her confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill, March 22, 2022 in Washington, D.C. |

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson is expected to be confirmed to the United States Supreme Court nomination, as three Republican Senators have recently stated their intention to vote for her. 

In February, President Joe Biden nominated Jackson, a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, to the Supreme Court.

While the United States Senate Judiciary Committee deadlocked on advancing Jackson’s nomination to the full Senate, she will make it to the Senate floor for a final vote later this week.

The Senate Judiciary Committee, which consists of 11 Democrats and 11 Republicans in reflection of the 50/50 split in the full Senate, failed to give Jackson a favorable recommendation to the full Senate Monday. While a favorable recommendation is usually an important step in the confirmation process, it is not a prerequisite to obtaining a seat on the Supreme Court.

If confirmed, Jackson will replace long-serving Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer upon his retirement later this year. While the historic nature of her nomination won her praise among Democrats, many Republicans expressed concern that she failed to define the term “woman” when asked and repeatedly gave child pornography offenders much lighter sentences than the guidelines called for.

After the Senate Judiciary Committee deadlocked, Senate Democrats brought a discharge petition seeking to advance her nomination to the Senate floor. The discharge petition passed in a 53-47 vote Monday, with Republican Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska and Mitt Romney, R-Utah, joining all Democrats in paving the way for a confirmation vote.

So far, Collins, Murkowski and Romney are the only Republican senators who have indicated that they will vote in favor of her confirmation. Jackson receiving their support means she will likely be confirmed as the first African American woman Supreme Court Justice in U.S. history as all 50 Senate Democrats are expected to support her nomination and she only needs a simple majority to be confirmed. 

Collins became the first Republican senator to come out in favor of Jackson’s confirmation, releasing a statement last week maintaining that Jackson “possesses the experience, qualifications, and integrity to serve as an Associate Justice on the Supreme Court.” The senator recalled how in discussions with Jackson, “Sometimes I agreed with her; sometimes I did not,” suggesting that her disagreement with Jackson on past or potential future judicial decisions was “not disqualifying.”

“In my view, the role the Constitution clearly assigns to the Senate is to examine the experience, qualifications, and integrity of the nominee. It is not to assess whether a nominee reflects the ideology of an individual Senator or would rule exactly as an individual Senator would want,” she wrote.

In a statement Monday, Murkowski praised Jackson’s “qualifications, which no one questions; her demonstrated judicial independence; her demeanor and temperament; and the important perspective she would bring to the court as a replacement for Justice Breyer.”

Murkowski added that her support for Jackson’s confirmation “rests on my rejection of the corrosive politicization of the review process for Supreme Court nominees, which, on both sides of the aisle, is growing worse and more detached from reality by the year.” She acknowledged that “while I have not and will not agree with all of Judge Jackson’s decisions and opinions, her approach to cases is carefully considered and is generally well-reasoned.”

“She answered satisfactorily to my questions about matters like the Chevron doctrine, the Second Amendment, landmark Alaska laws, and Alaska Native issues. The support she has received from law enforcement agencies around the country is significant and demonstrates the judge is one who brings balance to her decisions.”

Romney did not support Jackson’s nomination to the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, unlike Collins and Murkowski. However, he released a statement Monday announcing his support for Jackson’s confirmation. Describing Jackson as a “well-qualified jurist and a person of honor,” Romney predicted that he “did not expect to agree with every decision she may make on the Court,” adding “she more than meets the standard of excellence and integrity.”

Jackson is the first Supreme Court nominee since Clarence Thomas not to receive a favorable recommendation by the Senate Judiciary Committee. As was the case with the current Senate Judiciary Committee, an equal number of senators on the panel voted in favor of and against sending Thomas’ nomination to the full Senate as the body considered his nomination in 1991. Thomas was ultimately confirmed in a vote of 52-48 in the Democratic-controlled Senate following a contentious confirmation process.

In a statement issued after the Senate voted on the discharge petition to force a vote on Jackson’s nomination, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called on lawmakers to “finish the job of confirming the Judge by the end of the week.” Jackson’s likely confirmation is not expected to alter the ideological balance of the court, which will consist of six justices appointed by Republican presidents and three justices appointed by Democratic presidents before and after she would join the bench.

Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at: ryan.foley@christianpost.com

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