Susan Collins to Back Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s Nomination to the Supreme Court

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine” by Medill DC is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) announced Wednesday morning that she would vote ‘yes’ when the time comes to vote on Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s nomination to the Supreme Court.  Collins is the first Republican to support Jackson’s confirmation to the high court.


Collins said in a statement: “After reviewing Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s extensive record, watching much of her hearing testimony, and meeting with her twice in person, I have concluded that she possesses the experience, qualifications, and integrity to serve as an Associate Justice on the Supreme Court.  I will, therefore, vote to confirm her to this position.”


Collins was one of only three Republican senators to vote to confirm Ketanji Brown Jackson to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in 2021.  She joined Republican senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) in doing so.


Collins has a history of confirming Supreme Court nominees appointed under Democratic presidencies.  During Barack Obama’s presidency, Collins voted to confirm two of his nominees – Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor.  Moreover, Collins bucked her Republican colleagues in the Senate in 2016 when she voiced her support for holding confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland prior to the 2016 presidential election. 


Collins’ announcement comes on the back of moderate Democrat Joe Manchin announcing his intentions to vote to confirm Judge Jackson, all but guaranteeing Jackson’s appointment to the Supreme Court.  However, Collins’ support of Jackson is a political win for Democrats, who will likely spin Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s confirmation to the high court as a bipartisan effort.


Collins’ decision is sure to draw the ire of a number of Republican Senators, including the likes of Josh Hawley (R-MO), Ted Cruz (R-TX), and a number of others who have raised concerns over Judge Jackson’s nomination.


During the nomination hearings that took place last week, Ketanji Brown Jackson’s judicial philosophy, commitment to upholding religious liberty, and potential history of light sentencing of sex offenders took center stage as she faced questions from Republican lawmakers. 


Following the hearings, a myriad of Republican senators stated that they would oppose Judge Jackson’s nomination to the Supreme Court, largely on ideological bases.  For instance, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) cited Jackson’s openness to Supreme Court packing and her light sentences for convicted sex offenders as reasons that he would reject her nomination.


Meanwhile, in a Fox News interview, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) indicated that he would be voting against Ketanji Brown Jackson given the judge’s refusal to define what a woman is, her history of lenient sentencing of sex offenders, and her embrace of critical race theory advocates such as Nikole Hannah-Jones.


For her part, Collins argued that the role of a senator is to examine the qualifications of a potential Supreme Court jurist, not their ideology.  Collins said in her statement: “In my view, the role the Constitution clearly assigns to the Senate is to examine the experience, qualifications, and integrity of the nominee.  It is not to assess whether a nominee reflects the ideology of an individual Senator or would rule exactly as an individual Senator would want.”


There are at least three Republican Senators who could side with Democrats in supporting the nomination of Ketanji Brown Jackson.  They include Lindsey Graham, Lisa Murkowski, and Mitt Romney (R-UT).  Regardless of the support of these swing senators, it seems likely at this junction that Judge Jackson will be confirmed to the Supreme Court next week.      

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