Senate maneuvers push Jackson toward final Supreme Court confirmation

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee deadlocked Monday on the question of whether to recommend Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court.

But an evening procedural vote moved Jackson toward final confirmation with assistance from three Republicans, all but guaranteeing that she will become the first Black woman to serve on the nation’s highest court.

Every Senate Democrat plus Republicans Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Mitt Romney of Utah supported discharging Jackson’s nomination from the Judiciary Committee meeting. That floor vote became necessary after the committee vote on whether to recommend Jackson for confirmation ended in a party-line 11-11 tie.

The committee meeting began with each member speaking about why he or she would or would not support Jackson. Georgia U.S. Sen. Jon Ossoff said he had taken the assignment seriously and with an open mind but ultimately decided she was worthy of his support.

“Judge Jackson is poised now to make American history and to demonstrate to our fellow Americans and to the world what this country stands for at its very best,” Ossoff said. “She has earned the respect of the nation through her exemplary conduct throughout this process. She will be a superb addition to the U.S. Supreme Court, and I look forward to enthusiastically voting to move her to the floor today and supporting her on the floor.”

The Judiciary Committee took a long recess and the vote was delayed until the late afternoon to allow time for one member, Democratic U.S. Sen. Alex Padilla of California, to arrive in Washington after experiencing travel issues. Judiciary Chairman Dick Durbin said a Supreme Court nomination was too important of a task to take a vote without everyone.

“This is not a run-of-the-mill, ordinary vote,” said Durbin, a Democrat from Illinois. “This is an important one that everyone here has thought through very seriously and we should take very seriously.”

Within hours of the committee vote, Senate Leader Chuck Schumer took to the Senate floor to talk about why the later procedural vote was needed to move Jackson’s nomination along. Another procedural vote, a motion to proceed to a final decision on Jackson, was scheduled for Tuesday morning.

“This is a joyous and history-making moment for the Senate,” Schumer, a New York Democrat, said Monday evening. “A historic one: One-hundred-fifteen individuals have come before this chamber for consideration to the highest court in the land, but none — none — were like Judge Jackson.”