Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, President Joe Biden’s first nominee for the Supreme Court, was expected to take a major step on Monday en route to the expected Senate confirmation later this week.
Meanwhile, two other Republicans — Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Mitt Romney of Utah — have announced they will vote for Jackson’s confirmation when the full Senate is expected to vote later this week.
“After several in-depth conversations with Justice Jackson and a deliberative review of her case and recent hearings, I will support her historic nomination as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States,” Murkowski said in a statement.
“My support is based on Judge Jackson’s qualifications, which no one questions; her demonstrated judicial independence; her demeanor and temperament; and the important perspective she would bring to the court as a replacement for Judge Breyer,” said she declared.
“It also rests on my rejection of the caustic politicization of the Supreme Court nominee review process, which on both sides of the aisle is getting worse and detached from reality with each passing year. I do not and will not agree with all of Judge Jackson’s rulings and opinions, her approach to cases is carefully considered and generally well-reasoned,” she continued. “She responded satisfactorily to my questions on topics such as the Chevron Doctrine, the Second Amendment, historical Alaskan laws, and Alaskan Native issues. The support she has received from law enforcement agencies across the country is significant and demonstrates that the judge is the one who brings balance to her decisions.”
Romney released his statement minutes later.
“After reviewing the record and the testimony of Judge Jackson, I have concluded that she is a qualified jurist and a person of honor. Although I do not expect to agree with all the rulings “she could take on the Court, I believe she meets more than the standard of excellence and integrity. I commend Judge Jackson on her long-awaited confirmation and look forward to her continuing to serve our nation” , did he declare.
Their statements came hours after the Senate Judiciary Committee was predictably deadlocked along party lines in an 11-11 vote on Monday on whether to send the nomination of Jackson to the full Senate.
The tie vote forced Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to table a motion of discharge to present the nomination to the full Senate to get it out of committee and the Democrats needed to win over the procedural decision Monday night – especially now with Romney’s backing. and Murkowski.
Previously, only one Republican, Maine Senator Susan Collins, had said she would vote for Jackson.
Ranking member Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, announced after the committee kicked off Monday morning that he will vote no on Jackson’s nomination, clearing the way for the evenly split 22-member committee to stand finish with a tie vote.
But there was also an involuntary delay forced by a Democratic senator.
“We have a problem,” said Chairman Dick Durbin, D-Ill, explaining that Senator Padilla, D-California, whose presence is needed for the vote, was delayed when an overnight flight from Los Angeles had to go back to the airport. for a medical emergency, the committee is therefore suspended until his return.
As the committee went through opening statements on Monday, Republicans continued to raise issues with Jackson’s record, and Democrats defended Jackson against what they called “hurtful” questioning from senators in the GOP.
“We’re going to have our substantive political disagreements, but it’s the handling of some of these issues that has hurt so many people I know and have met,” said Sen. Cory Booker, DN.J., reflecting on the hearings. “How qualified do you need to be? he asked, repeating her qualifications and the fact that she was confirmed three times in a bipartisan vote before the Senate.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R.S.C., meanwhile, said in his day that if Republicans had controlled the Senate, Jackson would never have been heard. Notably, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell recently declined to comment on whether Biden’s Supreme Court nominees would be considered if Republicans regain the Senate.
“If we get the Senate back and we are in charge of that body and there are legal openings, we will talk to our colleagues opposite,” he said. “But if we were responsible, she wouldn’t have been in front of this committee. You would have had someone more moderate than that.”
Even without Republican support, Democrats have the power to advance his nomination. The final vote, though bipartisan, will likely be smaller than the White House had hoped.
“What I do know is that she will get enough votes to be confirmed,” White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain told “This Week” anchor George Stephanopoulos on Sunday. “At the end of the day, I guess that’s the only thing that matters. But I wish more Republicans would look into the matter here, look at the record, and vote to confirm Judge Jackson.”
With two weeks of Easter in sight for senators, Democrats are hoping for a final vote before the weekend.
If confirmed, Jackson would be the first black woman on the Supreme Court.
ABC News’ Trish Turner contributed to this report.
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