Start scheduling your watch parties now, because the most historic political drama on TV since Barack Obama’s ‘08 victory speech is coming soon.
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) said today that he’ll vote to confirm Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court of the United States. His yes vote almost guarantees that Brown, a U.S. Court of Appeals judge will become the first Black woman justice on the Court but it might also set in motion another dramatic and history-making vote along the way.
This week, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) joined Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) in saying they’ll vote “no.” That makes is likely that most, if not all, senate Republicans will follow suit. But with Manchin finally sticking to his party’s script, it appears that the evenly-divided chamber would end up in a 50-50 tie.
That would mean the country’s first Black woman vice president, Kamala Harris, would cast the tie-breaking vote to confirm the country’s first Black Woman Supreme Court justice.
Manchin’s announcement is notable since he is a closely-watched moderate Democrat and key swing vote in the Senate. His decision to vote “yes” helps solidify the vote math for Senate Democrats to confirm the nominee.
Senate Democrats are hoping to move swiftly to a confirmation vote by the full Senate by early next month. They can confirm Jackson to the Supreme Court without Republican support if every member of their caucus votes in favor, which appears on track to happen, and Vice President Kamala Harris breaks a tie. It is not yet clear if Jackson will win any Republican votes.
Brown–who is related by marriage to former Republican speaker of the house Paul Ryan–has twice before been confirmed to lower federal judgeships, including her current role, with bipartisan support in the Senate. But this time around, Republicans have made an about face, turning her confirmation hearings this week into something of a circus. Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) both led misleading lines of questioning about Brown’s sentencing of people convicted on child pornography charges.
Cruz went down an even deeper rabbit hole, reading aloud from children’s books by scholar and writer Ibram X. Kendi about anti-racism just to give himself a reason to say the words “critical race theory” on camera.