Moderate Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin announced Friday that he intended to vote to confirm Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court, all but ensuring Senate Democrats have the votes to elevate the first black woman to the nation’s highest court.
“Senators have a constitutional obligation to advise and consent on a nominee to fill a Supreme Court vacancy and this is a responsibility I take very seriously,” Manchin (D-WV) announced via Twitter.
“Just as I have with previous Supreme Court nominees, I met with Judge Jackson and evaluated her qualifications to be a Supreme Court Justice. 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.”
Jackson can be confirmed without a single Republican vote in the 50-50 Senate, since Vice President Kamala Harris would be able to break a tie in the nominee’s favor. But a single Democratic defection coupled with united GOP opposition would doom the nomination.
Manchin, who has previously broken with his fellow Democrats to thwart key parts of President Biden’s agenda, called Jackson’s record “exemplary” and noted both her Harvard education and her varied professional background.
“She spent time practicing at private law firms and served on the US Sentencing Commission. She also served as an Assistant Federal Public Defender — defending those who cannot afford legal representation, which is a pillar of our judicial system,” Manchin said. “She served as a US District Court Judge for the District of Columbia and as a DC Circuit Judge for the US Court of Appeals before being nominated to serve on the Supreme Court.
“Her wide array of experiences in varying sectors of our judicial system have provided Judge Jackson a unique perspective that will serve her well on our nation’s highest court,” he continued. “During our meeting, she was warm and gracious. On top of her impressive resume, she has the temperament to make an exceptional jurist.”
Manchin also praised Jackson’s “deep love” of his home state of West Virginia.
“I am confident Judge Jackson is supremely qualified and has the disposition necessary to serve as our nation’s next Supreme Court Justice,” he concluded.
Manchin’s comments came one day after the Senate Judiciary Committee wrapped up Jackson’s four-day confirmation hearing, which included more than 20 hours of questions for Jackson from the panel’s 22 members.
The committee is expected to vote on reporting Jackson’s nomination to the full Senate April 4, with a final vote on confirmation expected later that week.
On Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced he would vote against Jackson’s nomination.
“I enjoyed meeting the nominee and went into this process with an open mind. But after studying the nominee’s record and watching her performance this week, I cannot and will not support Judge Jackson for a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court.”
Jackson was nominated by Biden to fill retiring Justice Stephen Breyer’s seat last month. If confirmed, she will join the court for its next term starting in October.