The Senate Judiciary Committee voted Monday to send Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson’s nomination to the full Senate, moving her one step closer to becoming the first Black woman and first former public defender on the nation’s highest court.
“This is the fourth time the committee has voted on Judge Jackson in some capacity, a reflection of her extraordinary legal career,” Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), the chair of the committee, said in opening remarks. “It’s the first time that the committee has had the opportunity to advance the nomination of a Black woman to sit on the Supreme Court.”
“This is a historic moment for the committee and for America,” he added.
The panel advanced Jackson’s nomination on a 11-11 vote, with every Republican voting no. Those GOP members are Sens. Chuck Grassley (Iowa), Lindsey Graham (S.C.), John Cornyn (Texas), Mike Lee (Utah), Ted Cruz (Texas), Ben Sasse (Neb.), Josh Hawley (Mo.), Tom Cotton (Ark.), John Kennedy (La.), Thom Tillis (N.C.) and Marsha Blackburn (Tenn.).
The tie vote means Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) will have to force her nomination out of the committee via a procedural step known as a discharge petition, which will add a little more time to the process but won’t prevent her from being confirmed.
The full Senate is expected to take up and vote on the discharge petition later Monday. That leaves Jackson, who is President Joe Biden’s first nominee to the Supreme Court, on track to be confirmed later this week.
Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson is inching closer to becoming the first Black woman on the high court. (Photo: Chip Somodevilla via Getty Images)
Ahead of the committee vote, Republicans recycled the same bad-faith attacks they made during Jackson’s confirmation hearing last month.
They falsely accused her of not being tough on child sex offenders as a federal judge, even though they know her record is well within the mainstream. Cotton falsely claimed that Jackson likes to help terrorists. Cruz accused Democrats of treating Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh poorly during his confirmation hearing by asking him about his high school yearbooks, while “not a single Republican senator asked [Jackson] about her high school yearbook.” He failed to mention that Kavanaugh, unlike Jackson, was credibly accused of sexual assault in high school.
Several Republicans also accused Democrats of hypocrisy for supporting Jackson but opposing a conservative Black female judicial nominee in the early 2000s, Janice Rogers Brown, even though they know Democrats opposed her because of her ideological opposition to the social safety net, environmental protections and reproductive rights.
The reality is that several GOP senators on the committee ― Cruz, Hawley and Cotton ― are potential 2024 presidential contenders, and have been using Judiciary Committee hearings as a platform for falsely attacking Biden’s judicial nominees as “soft on crime.” They’ve been doing it all year, and their similar criticisms of Jackson are simply getting more attention because it’s a higher profile confirmation.
Democrats have the votes to confirm Jackson without any GOP support; all 50 of them are expected to vote for her. At least one Republican has indicated she plans to vote for Jackson, too: Susan Collins of Maine.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) is the other GOP senator to watch. She has been mum on how she’ll vote, but she was one of three Republicans who voted in June to confirm Jackson to her current seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
The other two were Collins and Graham. Graham has said he’s a “no” vote this time, despite previously voting to confirm Jackson three other times to her current court seat, her previous seat on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia and to the U.S. Sentencing Commission.
So why is he voting against Jackson now?
He has a case of sour grapes over Biden not picking the Supreme Court nominee he wanted.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.