Susan Collins Just Said She’ll Vote for Ketanji Brown Jackson

This all but guarantees Jackson’s confirmation to the Supreme Court.
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Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, President Bidens nominee for Associate Justice to the Supreme Court, meets with Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, in her office on Tuesday, March 8, 2022. (Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins said Wednesday that she’ll vote to confirm Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court, all but guaranteeing that Jackson will have the votes to become the first Black woman to serve on the United States Supreme Court.

Collins first met with Jackson for an hour and a half before the contentious Senate Judiciary Committee hearings last week, and again Tuesday for roughly an hour. Afterward, she told the New York Times she would back Jackson’s nomination.

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“I have decided to support the confirmation of Judge Jackson to be a member of the Supreme Court,” Collins told the Times that the role of the Senate in the confirmation process was “not to assess whether a nominee reflects the individual ideology of a senator or would vote exactly as an individual senator would want.”

Senate Republicans inundated last week’s hearings with accusations that Jackson was overly lenient toward defendants in child abuse material cases and a proponent of critical race theory, an increasingly frequent line of attack. During one exchange, Sen. Ted Cruz asked Jackson if she believed babies were racist. 

They also repeatedly raised the confirmation process for Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who in 2018 was accused of sexual assault during his confirmation process but was confirmed anyway. Though Collins voted for Kavanaugh, she voted against Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation in 2020, which came just days before the presidential election. 

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“In recent years, senators on both sides of the aisle have gotten away from what I perceive to be the appropriate process for evaluating judicial nominees,” Collins said. 

Though Jackson was an odds-on favorite to be confirmed, the Democrats’ Senate majority is tenuous enough that even one Democratic Senate vote against her, or an absence, could have doomed it. New Mexico Sen. Ben Ray Luján, for example, suffered a stroke last month, though he returned to the Senate just a month later. 

Collins’ vote, along with conservative Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia’s pledge last week to vote for Jackson, all but ensures that Jackson will be confirmed. On Tuesday, Manchin called the GOP’s treatment of Jackson “embarrassing” and “disgraceful.” 

“It’s not who we are. It’s not what we were sent here to do, to attack other people and just try to tear them down. I won’t be part of that,” Manchin said. “I think [Jackson] is extremely well-qualified and I think she’ll be an exemplary judge.”

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