Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said Wednesday that she will vote for Ketanji Brown Jackson’s confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court, the first Senate Republican to publicly signal support for President Biden’s historic nominee.
If confirmed, Jackson, 51, would become the first Black woman to serve on the nation’s highest court.
In a statement, Collins said that after meeting with Jackson twice in person, she was reassured that the judge possesses “the experience, qualifications and integrity” to serve on the court, and that some of the issues raised during last week’s had been alleviated.
“In my meetings with Judge Jackson, we discussed in depth several issues that were raised in her hearing,” Collins said. “Sometimes I agreed with her; sometimes I did not. And just as I have disagreed with some of her decisions to date, I have no doubt that, if Judge Jackson is confirmed, I will not agree with every vote that she casts as a Justice. That alone, however, is not disqualifying.”
“I don’t expect that any of the justices I am going to agree with on every decision — that’s impossible,” Collins explained in . “But I do want them to be able to be devoid of prejudgement, partisanship, preference and to be impartial and rule consistent with legal precedent, the language of the law and the Constitution.”
Collins’s support means that Jackson will receive at least one Republican vote in the evenly divided Senate.
Jackson was confirmed to her current seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit last summer by the Senate in a 53-44 vote, with Collins, Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., voting in her favor.
It seems unlikely that Graham will vote for Jackson again, given his repeated attacks on her during last week’s confirmation hearings.
Jackson does not need a GOP vote to secure confirmation. With the Senate evenly split, Vice President Kamala Harris — the nation’s first Black and first woman vice president — would cast the tie-breaking vote if the Democrats are united on the appointment.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has said he hopes to hold a final confirmation vote before the Senate’s expected Easter recess, which begins on April 8.