Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said today that she plans to vote “yes” on confirming Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court; guaranteeing that confirmation has at least minimal bipartisan support and making it it all but a lock that Brown will take her place as the first Black woman justice in the court’s history.
It was already likely that Jackson would be confirmed but in a party-line vote. The Senate, which is responsible for confirming federal judges, is evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans, but since Democrats control the White House, Vice President Kamala Harris, as president of the Senate, gives her party default control. With Republicans like Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Fla.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) recently expressing doubt that they’d vote for Jackson, and contentious, partisan confirmation hearings last week, it looked likely that Harris would be positioned to cast a history-making vote to ensure her confirmation.
Now, it appears that won’t be necessary.
Collins said in a statement that she met with Jackson a second time after four days of hearings last week and decided that “she possesses the experience, qualifications, and integrity to serve as an Associate Justice on the Supreme Court.”
“I will, therefore, vote to confirm her to this position,” Collins said.
Her support gives Democrats at least a one-vote cushion in the 50-50 Senate and likely saves them from having to use Vice President Kamala Harris’ tie-breaking vote to confirm President Joe Biden’s pick. It is expected that all 50 Democrats will support Jackson, though one notable moderate Democrat, Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, hasn’t yet said how she will vote.
Collins’ statement comes after Jackson resumed meetings on Capitol Hill with Senators, focused this time on answering questions from “moderate” Republicans who might have been on the fence.
Former Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.), who is serving as Jackson’s so-called “sherpa” on Capitol Hill, advising her on how to navigate the interview process in the Senate, gave a detailed, insider’s look at the process in an interview with The Root earlier this month.
The Biden Administration is pushing to have Jackson’s confirmation wrapped up next month.