The Republican Senators Who Could Vote for Ketanji Brown Jackson

Carol La Rosa /

If you hadn’t heard, Democratic President Joe Biden and his ilk have officially made a nomination for the Supreme Court. Undoubtedly, the plan is to have the confirmation process finished before the Senate’s upcoming recess on April 9 and especially before the November midterm elections. And so begins the Upper House’s confirmation trial of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson.

Like many of Biden’s nominees for various cabinet and White House staffing positions, Jackson is questioned about whether she has what it takes, and she was nominated in large part due to her gender and ethnicity.

In addition, while she may be just about as far left as they come in her line of work, she also seems to have mustered up a fairly good number of Republican supporters, albeit moderate Republicans. And that makes the likelihood of an April confirmation even greater, given that the Democrats will actually be able to claim a bipartisan confirmation.

So who are the members of the GOP who are likely to confirm Jackson?

At the top of the list is moderate Democrat Joe Manchin of West Virginia. I know, I know. He’s not a Republican. However, it’s important to note where he stands on this issue, as he and Arizona’s Kyrsten Sinema have long held their own party to the fire on no small number of occasions.

According to a statement made on Friday, Manchin says he will indeed be voting to confirm Jackson after holding a meeting with her during which he supposedly “evaluated her qualifications to be a Supreme Court Justice.”

Sinema has not made a similar announcement as of yet. However, as Newsweek reported, she voted for all 42 federal judges put forth by the Democrats last year and so is likely to vote accordingly.

The same can be said of our first actual Republican defector, Maine’s Senator Susan Collins. If you remember, Collins was one of three GOP senators to confirm Jackson for her 2021 seat in the DC Circuit Court of Appeals. As such, she has been one of the first that big-hitting Dems like Illinois Senator Dick Durbin, as well as Biden himself, have called in recent weeks to discuss Jackson’s accolades.

As of yet, Collins has not announced a decision. However, she speaks of a recent with Jackson as being “lengthy and very productive.”

Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski was another who helped to confirm Jackson of her last position and so is assumed to be on the shortlist of Republicans who may vote for her yet again.

The only real question into that vote is Jackson’s rather questionable record of handing out light sentences in child pornography cases. Murkowski noted recently that the so-called “pattern” is worth looking into” to determine if it is, in fact, a “pattern” or just a series of “one-offs that have been hyped into more.”

At this point, though, I think it’s safe to say that it is indeed a pattern, just looking at her record.

You’ll remember that Murkowski also voted to impeach Trump during Pelosi’s second attempt to have him ousted from the White House. And neither that vote nor a potential yes to Jackson will likely sit well with her voters come November.

Senator Mitt Romney of Utah is also another possible yes for Jackson, as he has already moved to defend the judge and her sentencing record since her confirmation began. He also likes the idea of making history and putting the first African-American woman on the SCOTUS bench.

Rounding out the list is Senator Lindsay Graham of South Carolina, as he is the third and last GOP member to have voted for Jackson last year. However, during this past week’s confirmation hearings with the judge, his approval of her might be considerably less than it was. At this point, only time will tell.

Additionally, there are three other Republicans who could choose to confirm Jackson: Sens. Roy Blunt of Missouri, Ohio’s Rob Portman, and North Carolina’s Richard Burr. While none of them voted for Jackson last year nor have announced that they will do so this round, they are all on the verge of retirement and, as such, may not necessarily vote on what their constituents want so much as their own opinion.

With that being said, they aren’t quite the moderates that Collins and Murkowski are, making a vote to confirm Jackson that much slimmer.

In any case, it seems likely that Jackson may, in fact, be confirmed in the coming weeks and also that any Republican who gives her that seat won’t have a job come November.