Paltry GOP Support For Jackson Previews Party’s Refusal To Support Biden SCOTUS Noms

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 28: Ketanji Brown Jackson, nominated to be a U.S. Circuit Judge for the District of Columbia Circuit, testifies before a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on pending judicial nominations on Ca... WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 28: Ketanji Brown Jackson, nominated to be a U.S. Circuit Judge for the District of Columbia Circuit, testifies before a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on pending judicial nominations on Capitol Hill, April 28, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Kevin Lamarque-Pool/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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Only three Republican senators voted to invoke cloture on the nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to fill Attorney General Merrick Garland’s seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, a procedural step that puts her on the road to a likely confirmation. 

Those Republicans were Sens. Lindsay Graham (R-SC), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Susan Collins (R-ME). The final vote was 52 to 46, with Sen. Tina Smith (D-MN) absent for the Democrats. 

The vote is good news for Jackson’s chances of joining the highly regarded appellate court: thanks to then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-NV) going nuclear on the filibuster in 2013, it only takes a simple majority to confirm judicial nominees. 

But for a potential future promotion, it bodes ill for fervent cheerleaders of bipartisanship. 

Jackson is considered a possible future nominee to the Supreme Court, should a vacancy arise during President Joe Biden’s term. He has pledged to nominate a Black woman to the court if he gets the chance.

The lack of Republican support for Brown’s nomination to the appellate bench pours cold water on the rosy-eyed notion that a significant number of Republicans would support her elevation to the high court.

Jackson, a D.C. district judge, has worked as a public defender and clerked for Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer early in her career. Many liberals have been pressuring the 82-year-old Breyer to retire, hoping to replace him with a younger nominee while Democrats still control the Senate. Jackson, incidentally, is only 50.

At her Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Republicans focused their criticism on various groups backing her nomination, as well as her rulings against the Trump administration. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), who voted against advancing her nomination out of committee and on the floor, said he’d vote against any nominee who’s not an originalist. 

Since Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) hacked away at another part of the filibuster in 2017, it only takes a simple majority to confirm Supreme Court nominees, making Republican support less critical. 

But it’s another sign of the polarization of our times. Breyer was nominated in 1994 and confirmed on a vote of 87 to nine. If Jackson does ultimately replace him on the bench — noting that he’s given no clear indication yet that he wants to retire — there’s virtually no chance she’d be confirmed with such bipartisan verve.

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Notable Replies

  1. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), who voted against advancing her nomination out of committee and on the floor, said he’d vote against any nominee who’s not an originalist.

    Shorter Grassley - I’m pretty sure the constitution wasn’t written for a black woman to become a federal judge.

  2. If any Biden nominee for the SC got even one R vote, I’d be flabbergasted.

  3. Which means like everything else in the current Senate, a judicial nominee must pass the Joe Manchin test.

  4. Or women to vote or own property.

  5. Let America Be America Again

    By Langston Hughes

    Let America be America again.
    Let it be the dream it used to be.
    Let it be the pioneer on the plain
    Seeking a home where he himself is free.

    (America never was America to me.)

    Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed—
    Let it be that great strong land of love
    Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
    That any man be crushed by one above.

    (It never was America to me.)

    O, let my land be a land where Liberty
    Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
    But opportunity is real, and life is free,
    Equality is in the air we breathe.

    (There’s never been equality for me,
    Nor freedom in this “homeland of the free.”)

    Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark?
    And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?

    I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,
    I am the Negro bearing slavery’s scars.
    I am the red man driven from the land,
    I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek—
    And finding only the same old stupid plan
    Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.

    I am the young man, full of strength and hope,
    Tangled in that ancient endless chain
    Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land!
    Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need!
    Of work the men! Of take the pay!
    Of owning everything for one’s own greed!

    I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil.
    I am the worker sold to the machine.
    I am the Negro, servant to you all.
    I am the people, humble, hungry, mean—
    Hungry yet today despite the dream.
    Beaten yet today—O, Pioneers!
    I am the man who never got ahead,
    The poorest worker bartered through the years.

    Yet I’m the one who dreamt our basic dream
    In the Old World while still a serf of kings,
    Who dreamt a dream so strong, so brave, so true,
    That even yet its mighty daring sings
    In every brick and stone, in every furrow turned
    That’s made America the land it has become.
    O, I’m the man who sailed those early seas
    In search of what I meant to be my home—
    For I’m the one who left dark Ireland’s shore,
    And Poland’s plain, and England’s grassy lea,
    And torn from Black Africa’s strand I came
    To build a “homeland of the free.”

    The free?

    Who said the free? Not me?
    Surely not me? The millions on relief today?
    The millions shot down when we strike?
    The millions who have nothing for our pay?
    For all the dreams we’ve dreamed
    And all the songs we’ve sung
    And all the hopes we’ve held
    And all the flags we’ve hung,
    The millions who have nothing for our pay—
    Except the dream that’s almost dead today.

    O, let America be America again—
    The land that never has been yet—
    And yet must be—the land where every man is free.
    The land that’s mine—the poor man’s, Indian’s, Negro’s, ME—
    Who made America,
    Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,
    Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,
    Must bring back our mighty dream again.

    Sure, call me any ugly name you choose—
    The steel of freedom does not stain.
    From those who live like leeches on the people’s lives,
    We must take back our land again,

    O, yes,
    I say it plain,
    America never was America to me,
    And yet I swear this oath—
    America will be!

    Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,
    The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,
    We, the people, must redeem
    The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
    The mountains and the endless plain—
    All, all the stretch of these great green states—
    And make America again!

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