Collins To Break GOP Ranks and Vote to Confirm Jackson

Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) announced Wednesday that she plans to vote in favor of confirming Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Collins is the first Republican to announce her support, ensuring that President’s Biden’s first nominee to the high court will, barring something unforeseen, be seated on the bench. Collins lauded Jackson’s “experience, qualifications and integrity” while also praising her “sterling academic and professional credentials.”

Her decision means that Jackson will be confirmed if all 50 Senate Democrats vote “yes” as expected. Collins was the only GOP senator to oppose Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination, and she said her decision was based on the timing of the vote just prior to the 2020 election, not for Barrett’s qualifications.

Collins, who was believed by Democrats to be the most likely Republican senator to support Jackson, was courted heavily by Biden and top Democrats. Collins spoke to the president several times and had a second meeting with Jackson on Tuesday to get “clarification” on some issues.

When asked what the specific issues were, the GOP senator responded that they were ones “you would probably think I would follow up on.”

Her decision means Democrats may classify Jackson’s potential confirmation as bipartisan — at least three other GOP senators appear to be considering support for Biden’s nomination.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) has yet to make her position on Jackson’s nomination public, but Murkowski voted in her favor when she was confirmed to the D.C. Court of Appeals last year. Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) has also expressed openness to vote “yes” on her confirmation.

Judge Jackson will be an Associate Justice on the Supreme Court, and Collins’ support makes that all but guaranteed.