Murkowski and Romney will back Jackson on Supreme Court – Orange County Register

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By MARY CLARE JALONICK, BECKY BOHRER and KEVIN FREKING

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican Senators Lisa Murkowski and Mitt Romney say they will vote to confirm Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson’s “historic nomination” to the Supreme Court, bolstering bipartisan support for the first black woman to be appointed to the court. .

Senators from Alaska and Utah announced their decisions Monday night ahead of a Senate procedural vote to advance the nomination. They join Sen. Susan Collins of Maine as Republicans who say they will support Jackson.

Jackson, a federal appeals court judge, was nominated by President Joe Biden to replace outgoing judge Stephen Breyer.

Murkowksi said her decision to support Jackson’s confirmation “also rests on my rejection of the corrosive politicization” of the Senate process for Supreme Court nominees, which she says is escalating and detaching from the reality of year to year.

She said, “While I do not and will not agree with all of Judge Jackson’s rulings and opinions, his approach to cases is carefully considered and generally well-reasoned.”

The GOP senators’ announcements come as Democrats move to confirm Jackson by the end of the week.

Earlier Monday, the Senate Judiciary Committee deadlocked, 11-11, on whether to send Jackson’s nomination to the Senate. But Biden’s nominee was still on track to be confirmed this week as the first black woman on the high court.

A tie vote of the committee was expected. There is an equal party on the panel, and all Republicans oppose Jackson’s nomination to replace outgoing Justice Stephen Breyer. But it was still a blow to Democrats who had hoped for strong bipartisan support. It was the first time the committee had been deadlocked over a Supreme Court nomination in three decades.

In order to move forward, Democrats were voting to “unload” Jackson’s nomination from the committee Monday night, then take a series of procedural steps in the coming days to push it through the Senate 50-50. With the backing of at least one Republican, Maine Sen. Susan Collins, Jackson is on track for confirmation by the end of the week.

“Justice Jackson will bring to the Supreme Court extraordinary qualifications, profound experience and intelligence, and a rigorous judicial record,” Biden tweeted Monday. “She deserves to be confirmed as the next judge.”

After more than 30 hours of hearings and Republican interrogations on her case, Jackson is set to make history as the third black judge and only the sixth woman in the more than 200-year history. of the court. Democrats cite her deep experience during her nine years on the federal bench and her chance to become the first former public defender on the court.

Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said at Monday’s meeting that Jackson had “the highest standard of skill, integrity, civility and grace.”

“The action of this committee today is nothing short of making history,” Durbin said. “I am honored to be part of it. I will strongly and proudly support the nomination of Judge Jackson.

The committee’s top Republican, Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, said he opposed Jackson’s nomination because “she and I have fundamental and different views on the role of judges and the role they should play in our system of government”.

The committee hasn’t been deadlocked since 1991, when Biden was chairman and a motion to send the nomination of current Justice Clarence Thomas to the prosecution with a ‘favorable’ recommendation failed on a 7-to vote. 7. The committee then voted to send the nomination to the floor without a recommendation, meaning it could still be up for a vote.

Delaware Sen. Chris Coons, a Democrat on the committee, said last week that a tie vote over Jackson would be “a really unfortunate signal that our confirmation process continues to malfunction.”

So far, Democrats know they will have at least one GOP vote in the full Senate — Collins, who announced last week that she would support the nominee. Collins said that while they don’t always agree, Jackson “has the experience, qualifications and integrity to serve as an associate justice on the Supreme Court.”

It is unclear whether other Republicans will join her. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky set the tone for the party last week when he said he “cannot and will not” support Jackson, citing GOP concerns raised during the hearing regarding his conviction record and his support of liberal advocacy groups.

Republicans on the judiciary panel on Monday continued their efforts to portray Jackson as soft on crime, defending their repeated questions about his sex crimes conviction.

“Questions are not attacks,” said Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, one of several GOP senators on the panel who hammered home the point during hearings two weeks ago.

Jackson pushed back against the GOP narrative, saying “nothing could be further from the truth.” Democrats said she was in line with other justices in her rulings. And on Monday, they criticized the questioning of their GOP counterparts.

“You could try to create a straw man here, but it doesn’t hold up,” New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker said.

The questioning was filled with “disrespectful nonsense,” said Booker, who is also black, and he said he would “rejoice” when she was confirmed.

Derrick Johnson, president and CEO of the NAACP, expressed his disappointment with the tie, although he noted that Jackson had cleared a significant hurdle. He said “history will watch” in the full Senate vote later this week.

“It’s a stain on the committee that this vote was not unanimous, but rather a tie vote along party lines,” Johnson said.

Collins and Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina were the only three to vote for Jackson when the Senate confirmed her as an appeals court judge last year. Graham said Thursday he would not support her this time around; Murkowski said she was still deciding.

Collins’ endorsement likely saves Democrats having to use Vice President Kamala Harris’ deciding vote to confirm Biden’s pick, and the president called Collins on Wednesday to thank her. Biden had called her at least three times ahead of the hearings, part of a major push to win a bipartisan vote for his landmark nominee.

All 50 Democrats are expected to back Jackson, although a notable moderate Democrat, Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, has yet to say how she will vote.

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Associated Press writer Zeke Miller contributed.


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