Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine will support Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson when the Senate votes on her nomination to the Supreme Court.
Collins visited with Jackson on Tuesday in her second meeting with the nominee and then announced her decision, according to The New York Times.
“I have decided to support the confirmation of Judge Jackson to be a member of the Supreme Court,” the senator said.
Collins thus assured Senate Democrats of at least one Republican vote in the 50-50 Senate.
Republican Sens. Mitt Romney of Utah and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska also have been considered possible votes in Jackson’s favor.
Romney met with the nominee Tuesday. Murkowski has said that her past support for Jackson’s confirmation as a federal appeals court judge should not be interpreted as a vote in her favor this time around.
Many Republicans have voiced their concern over Jackson’s record of sentencing individuals found guilty in child pornography cases to lenient sentences.
The White House omitted Judge Jackson’s sentence in a recent “grisly” child porn case from documents submitted to Senate Judiciary Committee.https://t.co/olK0w3WyGG
— Senate Republican Communications Center (@SRCC) March 29, 2022
However, Collins said she sought to rise above a process she thinks has gone off the rails.
“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,” she told the Times.
“In my view, the role under the Constitution assigned to the Senate is to look at the credentials, experience and qualifications of the nominee,” the senator said. “It is not to assess whether a nominee reflects the individual ideology of a senator or would vote exactly as an individual senator would want.”
Collins, however, voted against Justice Amy Coney Barrett in 2020. She claimed her objections were based on the confirmation vote being held just prior to the presidential election.
Susan Collins tells @hillhulse she will vote to confirm Judge Jackson to SCOTUS, first R to say so. She had been signaling she was likely to support and voted for her for DC Circuit. Underscores she has the votes to get confirmed narrowly. https://t.co/musHcDzCg0
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) March 30, 2022
The senator said on Tuesday that she does not expect to agree with Supreme Court nominees.
“I don’t expect that any of the justices I am going to agree with on every decision — that’s impossible,” she said, according to the Times. “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 said there was “no question that she is qualified to be a Supreme Court justice.”
She praised Jackson’s “breadth of experience as a law clerk, attorney in private practice, federal public defender, member of the U.S. Sentencing Commission and district court judge for more than eight years.”
Republican Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio recently criticized Jackson for not sharing her position on “court-packing” — an effort to increase the number of justices so that the court would always be a bastion of liberal rulings.
“I don’t understand that, because it’s not an issue that will come before her in the court, so she should as a nominee be able to talk about it,” he said. “And I’m concerned that she’s not been willing to do that.”
Collins said Tuesday that Jackson told her she “would forever stay out of that issue.”