Senate

Collins, Murkowski, Romney help break deadlock on Jackson’s nomination

Senate Democrats, backed by three GOP senators, voted on Monday night to break a deadlock on Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s Supreme Court nomination, paving the way for her to be confirmed by the end of the week.

Senators voted 53-47 to formally discharge Jackson’s nomination to the full Senate. It’s the first time the Senate has had to take the procedural step for a Supreme Court nominee since 1853.

GOP Sens. Susan Collins (Maine), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Mitt Romney (Utah) voted with Democrats to make Jackson’s nomination available for a full Senate vote. 

Collins announced last week that she would vote for Jackson.

Meanwhile, Murkowski and Romney said in statements on Monday that they would back Jackson, becoming the second and third GOP senators to support her, respectively. 

“I will support the motion to discharge Judge Jackson’s nomination later tonight, and her confirmation later this week,” Murkowski said in a statement. 

Romney added in a separate statement that he had “concluded that she is a well-qualified jurist and a person of honor.”

“While I do not expect to agree with every decision she may make on the Court, I believe that she more than meets the standard of excellence and integrity,” he added. 

Monday’s vote puts Jackson on track to be confirmed as the first Black, female Supreme Court justice by the end of the week. 

“Despite Republican obstruction, Judge Jackson has enough votes to get confirmed by the Supreme Court on a bipartisan basis. The Senate is going to keep working until she is confirmed,” Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said on Monday. 

Schumer is expected to move on Tuesday to formally tee up an initial vote on Jackson’s nomination for Thursday. After that Republicans could delay a final vote on Jackson’s nomination until Friday if they eat up an additional 30 hours of debate time. 

Jackson, if she’s confirmed, would also be the high court’s first former public defender. 

The limited GOP support comes even after Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said that he conducted outreach to roughly 10 Republican senators.

But Republicans were largely expected to oppose Jackson’s nomination. Only three GOP senators voted for her current position last year: Collins, Murkowski and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who was widely viewed as being a “no” vote and ultimately came out against her Supreme Court nomination.

Murkowski’s previous support of Jackson’s appeals court seat made her a vote to watch. While Romney was considered a swing vote because he had been open minded in her nomination and hit back at some GOP criticism over her sentencing decisions.

The three votes also line up with an expectation by Senate Republican Whip John Thune (S.D.) that the three GOP votes she got in 2021 was likely the high-water mark for how much Republican support that she would get for the Supreme Court. 

The Senate’s vote on Monday night comes after the Senate Judiciary Committee tied 11-11 on Jackson’s nomination earlier Monday. It was the first time the committee has tied on a Supreme Court nominee since Justice Clarence Thomas in 1991.

The votes come after a four-day Judiciary Committee hearing late last month, where Jackson faced tense moments with multiple GOP senators on the panel. 

Republicans focused a significant portion of their time questioning Jackson on her sentencing decisions in child porn cases, while also homing on on her work related to Guantanamo Bay detainees and her judicial philosophy. 

The GOP line of questioning sparked some pushback from Republican senators, including Romney. 

Murkowski on Monday that some Republicans were “super great” during the hearing and some were not. 

“I think there was a level of personal attack that was unwarranted,” she said. 

—Updated at 8 p.m.

Tags Ketanji Brown Jackson Lisa Murkowski Mitt Romney

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