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Democrats Move Forward on Vote to Confirm Ketanji Brown Jackson Despite Lacking GOP Support

Democrats Move Forward on Vote to Confirm Ketanji Brown Jackson Despite Lacking GOP Support

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson is moving closer to confirmation as the Senate Judiciary Committee is setting up a vote next week to recommend her nomination to the full Senate and seat her as the first Black woman on the Supreme Court.

Jackson appears to be on a firm path to confirmation by mid-April, even if she doesn’t receive as many bipartisan votes that her nominator President Joe Biden has sought. Democrats can confirm her without one Republican vote in the 50-50 Senate, as long as every Democrat supports her. Vice President Kamala Harris can break a tie.

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, with President Joe Biden, speaks after she was nominated for Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court, in the Cross Hall of the White House in Washington, DC, February 25, 2022. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP)

At a brief meeting on Monday, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin set the Committee vote for April 4th, praising Judge Jackson’s answers during four days of hearings last week that often grew contentious. Republicans on the committee — led by several senators who are eyeing presidential runs — spent much of the hearings focused on her sentencing decisions in a handful of child pornography cases during her nine years as a federal judge in an effort to paint her as too lenient on the criminals.

So far, no Republicans have said they will vote for her. Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the GOP leader, cited the Republicans’ concerns about her sentencing history, along with her support from liberal advocacy groups, in announcing Thursday that he “cannot and will not” back her. Maine Sen. Susan Collins, who met with Judge Jackson for more than an hour and a half earlier this month, is the most likely GOP senator to vote for her. After their meeting, Collins said she believes Jackson takes “a very thorough, careful approach in applying the law to the facts of the case, and that is what I want to see in a judge.”

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Jackson would be the third Black justice, after Thurgood Marshall and Clarence Thomas, and the sixth woman. She would also be the first former public defender on the Supreme Court, and the first justice with experience representing indigent criminal defendants since Marshall.

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