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Susan Collins to vote ‘yes’ on Ketanji Brown Jackson for Supreme Court, in first Republican backing

Supreme Court nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson will have at least one Republican backing her confirmation, as Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said she will vote for her.

Collins is the first GOP senator to announce that she will support President Biden’s pick for the high court.

ADVOCATES URGE SEN. SUSAN COLLINS TO ‘THOROUGHLY’ REVIEW JUDGE JACKSON’S ‘ DEEPLY DISTURBING’ VIEWS ON CRIME

“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,” Collins said in a statement.  “I will, therefore, vote to confirm her to this position.”

Collins had two private meetings with Jackson since Biden announced the nomination. Collins noted that they “discussed in depth several issues that were raised in her hearing,” including a number on which they disagreed. She recognized that if Jackson does join the high court, there are sure to be decisions on which they disagree.

“That alone, however, is not disqualifying,” Collins said, pointing out that the same holds true for each of the six justices she has voted to confirm in the past. Collins had also voted to confirm Jackson to lower courts, including her current position on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.

FILE - In this June 30, 2020, file photo, Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, speaks during a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. Collins running for reelection to represent Maine in the Senate in the Nov. 3 general election. (Al Drago/Pool via AP, File)

It remains to be seen whether other Republicans will vote to confirm Jackson. No Democrats voted in favor of confirming the most recent addition to the court, Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who was the last of three justices selected by former President Donald Trump. Nearly every Democrat opposed Trump’s first two picks, Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh.

White House chief of staff Ron Klain thanked Collins for her support. “Grateful to @SenatorCollins for giving fair, thoughtful consideration to Judge Jackson — and all of the @POTUS’ judicial nominations,” Klain tweeted.

BIDEN SAYS HE DIDN’T WATCH KETANJI BROWN JACKSON’S CONFIRMATION HEARING AFTER WHTE HOUSE CLAIMED HE DID

Collins commented on how politics has changed the Supreme Court confirmation process, as in the past senators would typically go along with a president’s choice.

“No matter where you fall on the ideological spectrum, anyone who has watched several of the last Supreme Court confirmation hearings would reach the conclusion that the process is broken,” Collins said. “Part of the reason is that, in recent years, the process has increasingly moved away from what I believe to be appropriate for evaluating a Supreme Court nominee.”

Collins explained that as she sees it, “the role the Constitution clearly assigns to the Senate is to examine the experience, qualifications, and integrity of the nominee,” and “not to assess whether a nominee reflects the ideology of an individual Senator or would rule exactly as an individual Senator would want.”

Republicans have been highly critical of Jackson’s record in criminal cases, accusing her of going too easy on defendants, particularly in child pornography cases. She and Democratic supporters have dismissed such criticisms, claiming that her sentences have been proper.

The Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to vote on Jackson’s nomination on April 4, which would then set up a vote by the full Senate later in the month.

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