Sen. Susan Collins of Maine said Wednesday she will vote to confirm Ketanji Brown Jackson, giving Democrats at least one Republican vote and all but assuring that Jackson will become the first Black woman on the Supreme Court.
Collins said in a statement that she met with Jackson a second time after four days of hearings last week and decided that “she possesses the experience, qualifications, and integrity to serve as an Associate Justice on the Supreme Court.”
“I will, therefore, vote to confirm her to this position,” Collins said.
Her support gives Democrats at least a one-vote cushion in the 50-50 Senate and likely saves them from having to use Vice President Kamala Harris’ tiebreaking vote to confirm President Biden’s nominee. It is expected that all 50 Democrats will support Jackson, though one notable moderate Democrat, Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, hasn’t yet said how she will vote.
Jackson, who would replace retiring Justice Stephen G. Breyer, would be the third Black justice, after Thurgood Marshall and Clarence Thomas, and the sixth woman. She would also be the first former public defender on the court.
Collins was the most likely Republican to support Jackson, and she has a history of voting for Supreme Court nominees picked by presidents of both parties. The only nominee she’s voted against since her election in the mid-1990s is Justice Amy Coney Barrett in 2020.
She said in the statement that she doesn’t expect that she will always agree with Jackson’s decisions.
“That alone, however, is not disqualifying,” Collins said. “Indeed, that statement applies to all six Justices, nominated by both Republican and Democratic presidents, whom I have voted to confirm.”
It is unclear if any other GOP senators will vote for Jackson. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said last week said he will not support her, citing concerns about her sentencing record and her support from liberal advocacy groups.