Deadlock Expected in Panel's Vote on Jackson

Democrats hope to have nominee confirmed by the end of the week
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 4, 2022 1:55 PM CDT
Senate Panel Moves Toward Jackson Vote
Senate Judiciary Committee member Sen. Cory Booker speaks during the committee's business meeting to consider the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson.   (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

(Newser) – The Senate Judiciary Committee debated Ketanji Brown Jackson's nomination for Supreme Court justice on Monday with Democrats aiming to confirm her by the end of the week as the first Black woman on the high court. The panel recessed at midday after one of the Democrats, California Sen. Alex Padilla, was delayed on a flight. The committee is expected to vote later in the day and deadlock on the nomination, 11-11, the AP reports. All of the Republicans on the panel are opposing Jackson, and the full Senate is evenly split 50-50 between Democrats and Republicans.

If the committee deadlocks, Democrats are expected to immediately move to the Senate floor to "discharge" Jackson's nomination. While that won't delay the process for long, it is still another blow for Democrats who had hoped to confirm Jackson with bipartisan support. The committee hasn’t deadlocked since 1991, when Biden was chairman of the panel and a motion to send the nomination of current Justice Clarence Thomas to the floor with a "favorable" recommendation failed on a 7-7 vote. The discharge vote, expected late Monday, would be the first of several procedural steps on the Senate floor with a goal of a final confirmation vote by Friday.

With the support of at least one Republican, Maine Sen. Susan Collins, Jackson is on a glidepath toward confirmation to replace retiring Justice Stephen Breyer. The chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin, said as he opened Monday's meeting that Jackson has "the highest level of skill, integrity, civility, and grace." "This committee’s action today in nothing less than making history," Durbin said. The committee's top Republican, Sen. Chuck Grassley, said he was opposing Jackson's nomination because "she and I have fundamental, different views on the role of judges and the role that they should play in our system of government."

(Read more Ketanji Brown Jackson stories.)

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