Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s confirmation as the next U.S. Supreme Court justice went from a strong hope to virtually factual with the commitment from Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin on Friday.
Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona have remained wild cards in the Democratic Party, routinely voting against their caucus and President Joe Biden’s agenda.
But on Friday, Manchin declared his intention to vote in the affirmative after one of the most contentious confirmation hearings in history.
“I met with Judge Jackson and evaluated her qualifications to be a Supreme Court justice,” Manchin announced in a statement. “After meeting with her, considering her record, and closely monitoring her testimony and questioning before the Senate Judiciary Committee this week, I have determined I intend to vote for her nomination to serve on the Supreme Court.”
Following public testimony on Thursday, the historic confirmation hearings concluded.
The Senate Judiciary Committee plans to meet on Monday and has tentatively scheduled a vote on the nomination on April 4.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) said he expects a full vote by April 11.
Democrats hope that some Republicans join them in voting to confirm Jackson. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), one of the main actors in these hearings, voted in 2021 to confirm Jackson to the powerful D.C. appellate court.
Graham has said he’ll vote against confirmation this time.
Republican Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine also voted to confirm Judge Jackson in 2021.
No Democrat has publicly opposed Jackson’s nomination, and Republicans have sought out Manchin and Sinema because of their track record of voting against the Democratic agenda.
It’s expected Sinema will follow Manchin and vote to confirm Jackson.
If the confirmation vote splits along party lines, Vice President Kamala Harris will cast the tiebreaker, assuring Jackson’s ascension as the first Black woman Supreme Court justice.
“There is nothing in Judge Jackson’s record suggesting that the committee should have difficulty reporting her nomination out,” Schumer said.