The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday deadlocked along party lines on the Supreme Court nomination of Ketanji Brown Jackson, failing to formally send her name to the full Senate, although Democrats soon discharged her nomination through a floor vote.
The committee deadlocked at 11-11, with the 11 Democrats supporting Jackson and the 11 Republicans opposing her. President Biden nominated Jackson last month to succeed Stephen Breyer, who is retiring.
Within hours, though, the Senate voted 53-47 to discharge Jackson’s nomination from the committee. She could win confirmation this week.
Because Breyer is a member of the court’s liberal bloc, Jackson’s confirmation likely would not upset its ideological balance if she – as expected – leans left in her rulings.
Sen. Joe Manchin (W.Va.), the most conservative member of the Democratic caucus, has said he supports her nomination. Three Republicans voted with Democrats Monday to discharge the nomination.
Jackson would become the first African-American female on the high court.
She currently is a member of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.
Manchin called her “supremely qualified.”
“After meeting with her, considering her record, and closely monitoring her testimony and questioning before the Senate Judiciary Committee … I have determined I intend to vote for her nomination to serve on the Supreme Court,” Manchin said. “... Her wide array of experiences in varying sectors of our judicial system have provided Judge Jackson a unique perspective that will serve her well on our nation’s highest court.”
Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley (Iowa), the GOP’s ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said Monday he opposes Jackson’s nomination.
“Having carefully studied her record, unfortunately, I think she and I have fundamentally different views on the role judges should play in our system of government,” Grassley said. “... We need confidence that judges will interpret the laws as they are written. Judge Jackson’s re-interpretation of laws I’ve helped write does not give me that confidence.”
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who went to Harvard Law School with Jackson, said over the weekend that Jackson is “radical” in her judicial philosophy.
“She’s very bright. She’s very charming,” Cruz said. “... [But] if she is confirmed, she will be the most liberal justice of all nine, she will be the most liberal justice to have ever served on the U.S. Supreme Court.”
If confirmed, Ketanji Brown Jackson will be the most liberal Justice to ever serve on the Supreme Court. pic.twitter.com/okrsikqKeq— Senator Ted Cruz (@SenTedCruz) April 4, 2022
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Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.