But while the White House and Senate Judiciary Chairman Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) are hoping for more support from the GOP, the vast majority of Senate Republicans are expected to oppose his High Court nomination.
“I think it’s south of three” Republicans likely to support Jackson, Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said. “This is what happened during his hearing before the Court of Appeal. She seems like a very nice woman, and certainly well accomplished, but I don’t think anyone has any illusions about how she’s going to line up on the pitch.
Indeed, Jackson got three Republican votes last year when she was upheld in the DC Circuit Court of Appeals. One of those Republicans announced he would oppose Jackson’s nomination, while another revealed his support and the third has yet to announce a decision.
Some Republicans have recently suggested they are torn between supporting Jackson’s historic nomination and voting unbased on opposition to his judicial philosophy. A few of that group are retiring this year, freeing them from the potential political risks of backing his nomination, though a vote to confirm Jackson would upset the GOP primaries currently underway to replace them.
With only that handful of even Republicans in play and a 50-50 Senate, Democrats have little room for error as they seek to confirm Jackson with their spring break target set to begin April 9. Here’s who to watch as she nears a final vote:
Senator Lisa Murkowski
The Alaskan is one of three GOP senators who voted to confirm Jackson to the DC Circuit Court of Appeals last year, making it one of the most watched votes once the nomination reached the ground. She announced she would support Jackson the same day the Senate successfully rejected the nomination by a deadlocked judicial panel.
In an interview, Murkowski said that Jackson’s conviction record in the child pornography cases “was worth looking at,” but she wanted to understand whether or not it was a trend before commenting. determine its effect on his vote.
“If it’s really a pattern, it’s something that I think we should pay attention to. If it’s a problem of … one-offs that have been publicized more than that, I think it’s something we have to try to discern,” Murkowski said.
Senator Susan Collins
The Mainer said Wednesday that she would support Jackson’s nomination to the Supreme Court. Democrats pushed hard for his vote, with President Joe Biden calling Collins at least three times about the Supreme Court vacancy, including the day he made his selection. Durbin contacted shortly after the announcement of Justice Stephen Breyer’s retirement.
Collins sat down with Jackson earlier this month for more than 90 minutes and described their conversation as “long and very productive.” Although she supported the vast majority of Biden’s judicial nominees, including Jackson’s nomination to the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, she waited until confirmation hearings were over to make a decision.
Collins voted for six of the nine justices serving on the Supreme Court. She opposed the nomination of Justice Amy Coney Barrett to the High Court, citing the proximity of the 2020 election.
Senator Mitt Romney
The Utahn criticized the idea that Jackson’s conviction record was disqualifying and said “my heart would like to be able to vote for his confirmation.” He was still considered a tough sell until he announced his yes vote minutes after Murkowski.
Romney has said he won’t comment until after Jackson’s hearings, insisting he’s undecided even as Republicans hope he votes no. He says he will “weigh a judge’s ability, philosophy and decisions in his previous role”. He met the candidate.
Senator Lindsey Graham
The South Carolinian was once considered one of the Republicans most likely to support Biden’s Supreme Court pick. But while Graham backed Jackson’s nomination to the DC Circuit Court last year, he instead lobbied for his home state’s District Court Judge J. Michelle Childs to replace Breyer. Since Biden announced Jackson’s nomination, Graham has sent strong signals that he will vote against her and later announced that he was no.
Graham was among the GOP’s toughest interlocutors during Jackson’s confirmation hearing: He engaged her in a tense exchange about her conviction record in child pornography cases and asked about fights past court cases, including current Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings and the Democrats’ filibuster on appeal. court candidate Janice Rogers Brown, a black woman.
Senator Roy Blunt
The retired Missouri Republican was one of those who struggled with Jackson’s nomination, underscoring its historic nature. But Blunt announced Sunday that he would not vote for her, citing concerns about Jackson’s judicial philosophy and suggesting that there are cases that demonstrate a view of the Constitution as “a more flexible document.”
“It will be a highlight for the country to see her go to court and bring her unique perspective to the court,” Blunt said on ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos.” “But I don’t think she’s the kind of judge who will really do the kind of work that I think needs to be done by the Court and I won’t support her, but I will join others in understanding the importance of this moment.”
Senator Rob Portman
The meticulous Ohio Republican kept a staffer in the courtroom to monitor colleagues’ questions to Jackson and his responses. He agrees with some of his colleagues that Jackson’s bid to join the court is “a historic nomination.” But it will be hard for him to vote for her in the end, and he voted no to throw Jackson’s nomination on the floor.
“She doesn’t share my legal philosophy, for the most part. I think she’s a qualified person, and when I spent time with her, I liked her. But I just need to take a look at everything,” said Portman, who is retiring after this Congress. “There are differences in philosophy.”
Senator Richard Burr
The retired North Carolina isn’t exactly a moderate swing vote in the Senate, but he also has plenty of surprises up his sleeve. The laid-back Burr ended up voting to convict former President Donald Trump in his 2021 impeachment trial, and he waited several days — until a meeting with Jackson — before announcing he would be voting no.
In a statement announcing his vote, Burr said he asked Jackson to expand the size of the Supreme Court and found his responses “unsatisfactory.”
Senator Joe Manchin
The centrist West Virginia Democrat said Friday he would back Jackson, likely guaranteeing his ultimate confirmation. In a statement, Manchin said he was “confident that Justice Jackson is extremely qualified and has the disposition necessary to serve as our nation’s next Supreme Court justice.”
As Manchin overruled Biden’s White House budget director pick and one of his nominees for the Federal Reserve board, Democrats expected him to back Jackson in the High Court . And it was clear earlier this week that Sen. Josh Hawley’s (R-Mo.) campaign against the judge’s sentencing decisions in child pornography cases was having no effect on Manchin.
Manchin brushed off the gambit: “It’s Hawley, isn’t it? Take it for what it’s worth.
Senator Kyrsten Sinema
The centrist Arizonan sat down with Jackson earlier this month for a “productive” encounter and suggested she wouldn’t make a decision until the hearings. But Democrats are confident Sinema will back the nomination in the end, given that she has endorsed all of Biden’s judicial nominees — including Jackson’s DC Circuit nomination.
Sinema described Jackson’s nomination as a “historic step” and said she would assess the choice on three criteria: professional qualifications, belief in the role of an independent judiciary and confidence in his ability to “interpret faithfully and to uphold the rule of law”.