Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Mitt Romney Monday said they will vote for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to be confirmed to the Supreme Court, bringing the total expected GOP votes for Jackson’s confirmation up to three.
“After reviewing Judge Jackson’s record and testimony, I have concluded that she is a well-qualified jurist and a person of honor,” Romney, R-Utah, said. “While I do not expect to agree with every decision she may make on the Court, I believe that she more than meets the standard of excellence and integrity.”
Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, speaks during the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee business meeting on Thursday, March 4, 2021. (Photo by Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)
“My support rests on Judge Jackson’s qualifications, which no one questions; her demonstrated judicial independence; her demeanor and temperament; and the important perspective she would bring to the court as a replacement for Justice Breyer,” Murkwoski, R-Alaska, said.
“It also rests on my rejection of 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,” Murkowski added. “While I have not and will not agree with all of Judge Jackson’s decisions and opinions, her approach to cases is carefully considered and is generally well-reasoned.”
Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, walks through the Senate Subway on his way to a security briefing for senators on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., March 30, 2022. (REUTERS/Elizabeth Frantz)
Murkowski’s support gives Jackson yet more breathing room for her confirmation after Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said she would support Jackson last week. All Democrats are expected to vote for Jackson in a final confirmation vote.
The Senate Monday voted 53-47 to discharge Jackson’s nomination from the Judiciary Committee after the committee deadlocked 11-11 along party lines on Jackson’s nomination. Murkowski, Romney and Collins delivered three GOP affirmative votes in what will likely be touted by the White House as a major win.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., a member of the Judiciary Committee, lauded the moderate GOP senators for bucking their party on the Jackson vote.
Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson testifies during her Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, March 23, 2022. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
“I think it’s a real tribute to their judgement. I think it’s sad that we have this evenly divided vote. Maybe it’s an accident of history but I’m extremely gratified that more Republicans are showing that they’re willing to consider this nomination on the merits,” Blumenthal said.
“I think I would say also that by and large Republicans conducted themselves with great dignity and respect,” Blumenthal added.
There were some clearly disrespectful moments but maybe we’re making progress toward bipartisanship which would be a very good thing.”
Senate Republican Conference Chairman John Barrasso, R-Wyo., meanwhile avoided any direct criticism of members who backed President Biden’s nominee.
“Every senator has to make their own decision, and I’ve made mine and I’m going to be voting in opposition to a confirmation,” he said. “Every senator makes that decision for themselves.”
Jackson now has a relatively clear path to confirmation. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., is expected to file cloture on Jackson’s nomination Tuesday. That will set up a procedural vote either Thursday or Friday, which will likely be followed shortly thereafter by a final confirmation vote.
Retiring Justice Steven Breyer said he will step down at the end of the Supreme Court’s current term, which will be in late June or early July. If she is confirmed – which appears highly likely – Jackson will be sworn in as an associate justice on the Supreme Court at that time.