President Joe Biden’s choice for the Supreme Court, Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, began traditional courtesy calls with senators on Wednesday as Democrats announced his confirmation battle would begin later this month.
Hearings will begin on Monday, March 21 and end on Thursday, March 24, putting Jackson on the path to what Democrats hope will be a quick final confirmation vote, Senate Judiciary Chairman Dick Durbin said Wednesday.
“There’s no reason to wait or delay, as far as I’m concerned,” said Durbin, D-Ill., setting the goal of having Jackson confirmed by the full Senate before the Easter recess. from April 8.
Biden announced on Friday that he would nominate Jackson to fill outgoing Justice Stephen Breyer’s seat. Jackson, a Harvard law graduate, was confirmed to the DC Circuit Court of Appeals in a bipartisan vote last June, but faces a tougher confirmation battle for her place on the High Court. If confirmed, she will be the first black woman to serve on the Supreme Court.
Jackson began his day on Capitol Hill with a 40-minute meeting with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.
Prior to their meeting, Schumer said he was looking forward to “taking stock of all the good things we’re reading and seeing” about Jackson.
After their closed-door discussion, he praised what he said were Jackson’s family values, empathy and ability to see things from both sides.
“I think she deserves the support from across the aisle, and I hope a good number of Republicans will support her, given who she is,” he said.
Hours after they met, Schumer started Wednesday’s Senate session with even more praise.
“Now that I’ve met her, I’ll add another word: Belongs. She’s not only brilliant and beloved, but she belongs on the Supreme Court,” Schumer said. “America will be better off – much better – with someone like Justice Jackson on the Supreme Court.”
Former Alabama Democratic senator Doug Jones, assigned by the White House to help guide Jackson’s nomination through the finish line, escorted her to a similar meeting with the Senate Minority Leader , Mitch McConnell, before taking him to hang out with Durbin.
Speaking to reporters afterwards, Durbin said he expected Judge Jackson to get bipartisan support, saying he hoped at least a handful of GOP senators would vote to confirm her.
“I think it would be good for the Senate, good for the Supreme Court if that happened,” Durbin said, adding that he wanted the process to be fair.
In the equally divided Senate, Democrats can confirm Jackson to the court without any Republican support. But that’s not how Durbin and other Democratic leaders hope it will turn out. While three Senate Republicans voted to confirm Jackson to the federal appeals court, several said their previous votes would not determine how they would vote for Jackson.
The Judiciary Committee’s top Republican, Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, echoed Durbin’s sentiment after his conversation with Judge Jackson. The two spoke for just under 10 minutes.
He told reporters it was his responsibility to ensure the Senate had a fair and dignified process.
“We will carry out our constitutional duty to advise and consent with dignity and fairness and, above all, with thoroughness. Everyone expects us to do our job,” Grassley said.
When asked how her conversation with Grassley went, Judge Jackson replied, “Fine, thank you.”
Senator Durbin has set a goal of confirming Jackson before the Senate’s Easter recess, which begins April 8.
ABC’s Allison Pecorin and Trish Turner contributed to this report.