Manchin will back Jackson for Supreme Court

Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson answers questions during the third day of her Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing on Wednesday, March 23, 2022.
Greg Nash

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said on Friday that he will vote for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s Supreme Court nomination, making it ever more likely she’ll be confirmed to the court.

If all 50 Democrats back Jackson, the party will not need any GOP votes to win her confirmation with Vice President Harris breaking ties in the evenly split upper chamber. Manchin was not expected to oppose her, but was seen as one of two possibly uncertain votes along with Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.).  

“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. 

Manchin pointed to Jackson “wide array of experiences” as giving her a “unique perspective that will serve her well on our nation’s highest court.” 

“During our meeting, she was warm and gracious. On top of her impressive resume, she has the temperament to make an exceptional jurist… I am confident Judge Jackson is supremely qualified and has the disposition necessary to serve as our nation’s next Supreme Court Justice.,” Manchin added. 

Manchin’s support for Jackson comes as he has been a stumbling block for some of President Biden’s biggest legislative priorities over the past year. But Manchin has supported Biden’s lower-court judicial nominees and backed two of three of then-President Trump’s Supreme Court nominees, making getting his vote for Jackson an easier lift. 

He also appeared skeptical this week of the focus from Republicans, including Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), on Jackson’s child porn sentences, telling reporters: “It’s Hawley, right?” 

And Manchin touted Jackson’s familiarity with his own state, noting that she and her family “spend a great deal of time in West Virginia and her deep love of our state and commitment to public service were abundantly clear.” 

He also appeared skeptical this week of the GOP’s focus on Jackson’s child porn sentences. 

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Democrats want to confirm Jackson before they leave for a scheduled two-week April recess. Though Democrats are hoping to pick at least one GOP vote, the pool of potential “yes” votes appear to be shrinking

“I want to make sure she’s on the court, that we will have bipartisan support … I hope and I’m still hoping that several Republicans will step up and support her nomination,” said Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin (D-Ill.)

Sinema hasn’t yet announced how she will vote on Jackson. Like Manchin she’s been a swing vote on legislation but has supported Biden’s lower-court picks. 

Updated at 10:18 a.m.

Tags Dick Durbin Donald Trump Joe Biden Joe Manchin Josh Hawley Ketanji Brown Jackson Kyrsten Sinema Supreme Court

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