As expected, President Biden’s first Supreme Court nominee has gained the support of several Republican senators, effectively confirming her place on the court. Senators Mitt Romney and Lisa Murkowski have joined Susan Collins of Maine in announcing that they will vote to confirm Ketanji Brown Jackson to fill the seat of retiring liberal Justice Stephen Breyer. Most Republican senators have chosen to oppose Jackson’s confirmation.
Romney and Murkowski to support Jackson
As the three most liberal-leaning Republicans in the Senate Romney, Murkowski, and Collins were the most likely to be won over by Jackson and the Democrats.
South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham was thought to be another potential Republican supporter but he has publicly turned against Jackson and appears to be siding with the rest of the party.
Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema gave the Democrats some defection worries of their own, but with all Democrats now supporting Jackson the confirmation has become inevitable.
The White House and the Democrats have still continued to court potential Republican supporters. Winning GOP votes will allow them to present Jackson as a bipartisan choice.
Romney, Collins, and Murkowski have been willing to play the part at least. The senators have claimed that they are opposed to Supreme Court nominations becoming overly partisan affairs.
Like Hillary Clinton, Jackson has been sold by Democrats as the “most qualified” candidate who could possibly be found for the position, a claim now endorsed by Romney and Murkowski.
Most Republicans still opposed
The rest of the Senate Republicans are not only opposed to Jackson because she has been appointed by Biden, though if they were it would not be anything out of the ordinary.
All of President Trump’s SCOTUS nominees were bitterly opposed by Democrats, largely because both parties are now aware that the court has become a de facto political weapon.
Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and the other Senate Republicans based their opposition to Jackson largely on her refusal to firmly disavow the idea of court packing.
Justice Breyer has been a vocal opponent of the move, despite being one of the court’s liberals. Jackson has been nominated by a president who has openly toyed with the idea and she has the support of others who have embraced it.
Even if Romney and Murkowski were legitimately devoted to being non-partisan in approving qualified nominees there would have been serious grounds for objecting to Jackson.
Unless Graham changes his mind, the three senators who have already agreed to support Jackson will likely be the only Republican votes Chuck Schumer and his Democrats will receive for Biden’s nominee.