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WASHINGTON — Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said Wednesday that she plans to vote to confirm Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court, the first Republican to publicly back President Joe Biden’s nominee.
In a statement, Collins said Jackson “possesses the experience, qualifications, and integrity to serve as an associate justice on the Supreme Court.
“Judge Jackson has sterling academic and professional credentials. She was a Supreme Court clerk, a public defender, a respected attorney, and a member of the Sentencing Commission,” Collins said, noting Jackson’s current service as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and, before that, as a federal district court judge for more than eight years.
The senator said she doesn’t agree with Jackson on all issues, but emphasized, “That alone, however, is not disqualifying.”
Collins also said the Supreme Court confirmation process is “broken” because of how partisan it has become, moving away from what she believes to be the appropriate evaluation of a nominee’s “experience, qualifications, and integrity.” The process shouldn’t be about assessing “whether a nominee reflects the ideology of an individual senator or would rule exactly as an individual senator would want,” she said.
Collins added that previous justices were confirmed overwhelmingly by the Senate, which she said instilled confidence in the independence and integrity of the judiciary.
“This is the approach that I plan to continue to use for Supreme Court nominations because it runs counter to the disturbing trend of politicizing the judicial nomination process,” she said.
Collins met with Jackson on Capitol Hill for more than an hour Tuesday, as most senators have done with the nominee. The GOP senator from Maine told reporters they had a “good meeting” and said Jackson provided some clarification on certain issues. Collins had said she planned to reflect on their conversation Tuesday night.
While Collins does not sit on the Senate Judiciary Committee, which heard testimony from Jackson during her confirmation hearings last week, she voted in favor of Jackson’s nomination to be a U.S. circuit judge for the District of Columbia in June 2021.
The GOP senator had previously met with Jackson in early March. Afterward, Collins said, “Well, obviously I don’t agree with her on every decision that she has rendered, and we discussed the decision where she was overturned by the circuit court, and she explained her reasoning in more depth. But I felt that what I did get from her is that she takes a very thorough, careful approach in applying the law to the facts of the case. And that is what I want to see in a judge.”
Other possible Republican senators who could support Jackson include Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Mitt Romney of Utah and Thom Tillis of North Carolina.
The Judiciary Committee is expected to vote on Jackson’s nomination on Monday, and then the Senate plans to vote later in the week to confirm Jackson, with all 50 Democrats expected to back her. With Collins’ support, Democrats likely won’t need Vice President Kamala Harris to break a tie.
Once confirmed, Jackson will become the first Black woman to serve on the Supreme Court.
Source: This post first appeared on NBC News