Senate Advances Jackson’s Nomination After Republicans Force Committee Deadlock

Ketanji Brown Jackson’s confirmation to the United States Supreme Court moved forward on Monday, after a procedural vote in the Senate and statements from three Republican senators signaled that she is all but guaranteed approval to the nation’s highest bench later this week.

Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Mitt Romney (R-Utah) announced on Monday that they would vote in favor of confirming the Biden nominee to the court. They join another Republican, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, who previously said that she would vote to confirm Jackson.

Romney issued a statement calling Jackson “a well-qualified jurist and a person of honor.” In Murkowski’s explanation of why she would be voting to confirm Jackson, she recognized that Jackson had been treated unfairly by other GOP lawmakers.

Murkowski’s vote to support Jackson’s nomination would be made in part to reject “the corrosive politicization of the review process for Supreme Court nominees, which, on both sides of the aisle, is growing worse and more detached from reality by the year,” she said.

None of the three GOP senators who have said that they will vote for Jackson sit on the Senate Judiciary Committee. All 11 Republican members of that committee formally deadlocked Jackson’s confirmation vote, requiring Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) to use a procedural action to send consideration of her confirmation to the full Senate.

The legislative body ultimately voted 53-47 in favor of holding a formal vote for Jackson’s confirmation to the Supreme Court later this week. Every Democratic senator — plus the three Republicans who signaled their support for Jackson — voted affirmatively on that action, which only required a simple majority vote to pass.

Republicans have faced widespread criticism for their treatment of the Supreme Court nominee. Just this past week, more than 50 civil society organizations published an open letter condemning Republican senators for their “baseless and harmful attacks” on Jackson’s character and career.

Without naming the lawmakers specifically, those groups noted that Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), Josh Hawley (R-Missouri) and Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) attacked Jackson for her career as a public defender, making baseless claims about her morals based on the clients she served.

“As Judge Jackson noted at the hearing, ‘federal public defenders don’t get to pick their clients,'” the groups said in their open letter. “‘They have to represent whoever comes in and it’s a service. That’s what you do as a federal public defender: You are standing up for the constitutional value of representation.'”

“The work of public defenders and criminal defense lawyers is critical,” the letter’s authors added. “Those who enter public service as public defenders and criminal defense lawyers — like Judge Jackson and so many others — should be commended, not maligned.”

The groups also noted that Jackson’s rulings as a judge — which many Republicans sought to malign as being too lenient — were “well within the range of her peers.”

“With no basis upon which to honestly question Judge Jackson’s impressive qualifications, some senators made false statements about Judge Jackson’s sentencing practices in a sad and transparent attempt to derail her path to confirmation,” the letter from the organizations said.