Here Are the Republican Senators Who Could Potentially Vote for Ketanji Brown Jackson
Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson is almost certain to become the next associate justice of the Supreme Court.
Will Democrats be able to claim her confirmation was bipartisan?
Moderate Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia announced on Friday that he will vote to confirm President Joe Biden’s nominee.
“I met with Judge Jackson and evaluated her qualifications to be a Supreme Court Justice. After meeting with her, considering her record, and closely monitoring her testimony and questioning before the Senate Judiciary Committee this week, I have determined I intend to vote for her nomination to serve on the Supreme Court,” Manchin said in a statement.
Although the other moderate Democratic senator, Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, has not revealed her decision, Newsweek reported that she voted for all 42 federal judges confirmed by the Senate last year.
The most likely Republican senator to support Jackson is Susan Collins of Maine. Collins was one of three GOP senators to vote for Jackson’s 2021 confirmation to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Politico reported that “Democrats are pushing hard for her vote. [Biden] has called Collins at least three times about the Supreme Court vacancy, including the day he made his selection, while [Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin] reached out shortly after Justice Stephen Breyer’s retirement announcement.”
Collins has not announced her decision, but she described a recent private meeting with Jackson as “lengthy and very productive.”
Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, who also voted for Jackson’s confirmation last year, is another potential yes vote.
Asked about Jackson’s history of lenient sentencing in child pornography cases, Murkowski said it is “worth looking into.”
“If it really is a pattern,” she said, “that’s something I think we should be paying attention to. If it is an issue of … one-offs that have been hyped into more than that, I think that’s something we need to try to discern.”
Pssst. It is a pattern. Look at her record.
Murkowski, who voted to convict former President Donald Trump in his second impeachment trial, is up for re-election this year, and a vote for the far-left Jackson may not sit well with her constituents.
It’s possible that GOP Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah could vote yes. On Tuesday, he criticized his Republican colleagues over their attacks on Jackson’s sentencing record, telling The Washington Post, “The attacks were off-course that came from some.”
In early March, Romney said, “It’s historic for an African-American woman to be nominated. My heart would like to be able to vote for her confirmation. But I will not do so unless I’m satisfied she is in the mainstream of judicial thought and consistent with what I think the course of our judicial philosophy will be.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina was the third Republican to vote for Jackson’s confirmation last year, so there’s a chance he’ll back her again.
But after his heated exchange with Jackson this week, all bets are off.
KBJ: “With one click, you can distribute tens of thousands [of child porn]. You can be doing this for 15 minutes and all of a sudden, you are looking at 30, 40, 50 years in prison.”
Graham: “Good!” pic.twitter.com/znnVcyWNoO
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) March 23, 2022
Rounding out Politico’s list of possible Republican defections are Sens. Roy Blunt of Missouri, Rob Portman of Ohio and Richard Burr of North Carolina, all of whom are retiring at the end of their terms. Chances that any of them will support Jackson are slim.
Democrats plan to hold a confirmation vote before the April 9 Senate recess.
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