Senate

The three Republicans who voted to confirm Brown Jackson for appeals court

President Biden’s plans to nominate Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court sets up a looming confirmation fight in which the White House will try to win over Republican support in a 50-50 Senate.

Three Republicans voted last year to confirm Jackson to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit: Sens. Susan Collins (Maine), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Lindsey Graham (S.C.).

None of the three has indicated whether they would vote to put Jackson on the Supreme Court to replace the retiring Justice Stephen Breyer, and Graham issued a statement Thursday bemoaning that “the radical Left has won President Biden over yet again.”

Graham publicly lobbied for Biden to nominate Judge J. Michelle Childs, who serves on the federal bench in his home state of South Carolina. But he wouldn’t engage with questions about a potential nominee other than Childs.

“The attacks by the Left on Judge Childs from South Carolina apparently worked,” Graham said Thursday following reports that Biden planned to pick Jackson.

Graham and Collins voted for each of then-President Obama’s Supreme Court nominees — Justice Sonia Sotomayor and Justice Elena Kagan — while Murkowski voted against both.

Collins in a statement on Friday morning called Jackson “an experienced federal judge with impressive academic and legal credentials.”

“I will conduct a thorough vetting of Judge Jackson’s nomination and look forward to her public hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee and to meeting with her in my office.”

While past votes are no guarantee of support during something as contentious as a Supreme Court confirmation, they indicate the White House believes it can win over some Republicans to make Jackson’s confirmation as the first Black woman to serve on the high court a bipartisan one.

Most Republicans are likely to oppose the nomination, continuing a trend of increasingly partisan votes on Supreme Court picks. But high-ranking Republicans have indicated they hope the hearings will not be as contentious as those for Justice Brett Kavanaugh or Justice Amy Coney Barrett were and have even welcomed the idea of putting the first Black woman on the court.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) voted to advance Jackson out of the Senate Judiciary Committee last year, only to vote “no” on her confirmation to the court of appeals.

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) said that he had “no problem” with Biden pledging to nominate the first Black women to the Supreme Court while on the presidential campaign trail.

“I would love to vote to put the first Black woman on the court,” Blunt said earlier this month.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) this week said he did not think it was inappropriate for Biden to pledge to nominate a Black woman to the court.

“President Reagan promised to put a woman on the Supreme Court, Sandra Day O’Connor. President Trump promised to put a woman on the Supreme Court when Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away, so I’m not complaining about that,” McConnell said at an event in Kentucky.

Democrats expect to hold confirmation hearings in March with the goal of getting Jackson confirmed by early April.

Updated: 10:49 a.m.

Tags Amy Coney Barrett Barack Obama Biden Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh Donald Trump Elena Kagan Joe Biden John Cornyn Ketanji Brown Jackson Lindsey Graham Lisa Murkowski Mitch McConnell Roy Blunt Ruth Bader Ginsburg Sonia Sotomayor Stephen Breyer Susan Collins

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