WASHINGTON – The Senate Judiciary Committee is bringing Ketanji Brown Jackson closer to confirmation by holding a vote next week to recommend her nomination to the full Senate and place her as the first black woman on the Supreme Court.
Jackson appears to be on track for confirmation by mid-April, even if he doesn’t get the bipartisan votes President Joe Biden asked for. Democrats can confirm it without a Republican vote in the 50-50 Senate, as long as every Democrat supports it. Vice President Kamala Harris could break the tie.
In a brief meeting Monday, Senate Judge Dick Durbin scheduled the committee’s vote for April 4th and praised Jackson’s responses during a four-day hearing last week that has often become controversial. Republicans on the commission – led by several senators awaiting presidential candidacy – have spent much of the hearing focusing on her sentencing decisions in a handful of child pornography cases during her nine years as federal judge in an attempt to portray her as too lenient with criminals.
Durbin criticized the focus of Republicans on the issue, saying Republican senators asked “the hardest, worst questions and then raced on Twitter to see if anyone was tweeting.” In a Senate speech shortly afterwards, Tennessee Sen. Marsha Blackburn, a Republican who repeatedly asked Jackson about pornography, defended her colleagues, saying the interrogation was “not an attack.”
The guerrilla quarrel threatened to split Jackson’s confirmation along party lines as Republicans drew her nomination in an interim campaign to portray Democrats as soft on crime. Durbin, who, like Biden, wants a bipartisan vote, said he hopes other Republicans “will not be discouraged” from going back when considering whether to support the historic nomination.
So far, no Republican has said he will vote for her. Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the leader of the Republican Party, cited Republican concerns about the history of her sentence, along with her support from liberal advocacy groups, announcing Thursday that he “cannot and will not” support her.
Maine Sen. Susan Collins, who met with Jackson more than an hour and a half earlier this month, is the most likely Republican senator to vote for her. After their meeting, Collins said he believed Jackson was “taking a very thorough, careful approach to applying the law to the facts of the case, and that’s what I want to see in a judge.”
Jackson will be the third black judge after Targud Marshall and Clarence Thomas and the sixth woman. She will also be the first former public defender in court and the first experienced judge to represent poor defendants after Marshall.
Rejecting Republican questions about her conviction for child pornography, Jackson said during the hearings that the conviction was not a “numbers game.” She noted that there are no mandatory convictions for sex offenders and that there is considerable debate on the subject. Some of these cases have been her nightmares, Jackson said, and are “some of the worst I’ve seen.”
White House spokesman Andrew Bates said Monday that the interrogation was “unscrupulous” and that many Republicans voted for Republican-nominated judges who also convicted defendants under federal guidelines, as Jackson did.
The April 4 vote will create a week of Senate procedural maneuvers aimed at securing Jackson’s confirmation by the end of the week. Durbin said there was still hope for some Republican votes until then.
“I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to look at this woman and what she will bring to court,” Durbin said. “She is the best and she deserves our support.”
Associated Press writer Darlene Superville contributed to this report.
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Democrats are pushing for Jackson to vote for the Supreme Court
Source link Democrats are pushing for Jackson to vote for the Supreme Court