Politics

Jackson’s nomination for Supreme Court moves to the full Senate for confirmation

Democrats will vote today to advance the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson. A final vote before the full Senate is expected by the end of the week.

Supreme Court nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson arrives for the third day of her confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee last month.
Supreme Court nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson arrives for the third day of her confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee last month. Chip Somodevilla | Getty Images

The Senate Judiciary Committee reached an 11-11 tie along party lines on the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson on Monday.

Democrats were prepared for the deadlock and the outcome will not prevent Jackson from being confirmed by the full Senate. Top Democrats expect that vote will happen later this week ahead of a planned recess for the Easter holiday.

All 50 Senate Democrats, including the two independents who caucus with them, are expected to vote for Jackson’s confirmation. At least one Republican, Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, plans to join them, giving Jackson more than enough support to be approved for a lifetime appointment on the nation’s highest court. She will be the first Black woman to serve on the Supreme Court, if confirmed.

Democrats on the committee cited Jackson’s judgment as the main reason for their support, writing that her “credentials, experience, and evenhanded approach to the administration of justice make her an outstanding nominee to the Supreme Court.”

Jackson, 51, served eight years as a federal trial court judge and last June was confirmed for a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. Prior to becoming a judge, Jackson worked as a public defender. If confirmed, she would also be the first Supreme Court justice since Thurgood Marshall to have represented indigent criminal defendants.

Jackson’s confirmation would not change the court’s ideological balance, a 6-3 conservative majority, though. She will join the court in the summer when Justice Stephen Breyer retires.

Voters broadly support Jackson’s confirmation. A poll from Marquette University Law School after her confirmation hearings showed that 66% of adults saying they would support her nomination, while 34% wouldn’t.

Jackson was seen as at least “somewhat qualified” by 88% of the public while 12% see her as “not qualified,” the poll found.

That popularity is in contrast to recently confirmed Supreme Court justices. Amy Coney Barrett, the last nominee confirmed to the high court, was supported by roughly half of Americans prior to her confirmation in 2020, according to Gallup polling. Support for Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch was in the mid-40s.

NPR’s Susan Davis contributed to this report.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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