WASHINGTON – Supreme Court candidate Ketanji Brown Jackson began courting Senators on Capitol Hill to approve her in private meetings as Democrats worked to promote her through the Senate for weeks.
Senate Democrats, concerned by its narrow 50-to-50 majority – Vice President Kamala Harris is upset – announced Wednesday that Jackson’s hearing will begin on March 21, just three weeks after President Joe Biden nominated her to replace the outgoing judge retired, Stephen Breyer. For the purpose of the April confirmation, they use Judge Amy Connie Barrett’s quick confirmation before the 2020 presidential election as a model for Jackson, who will be the first black woman to serve as a judge in the court’s 200-year history.
Senate Legal Committee Chairman Dick Durbin called the process of quick approval “modern standards” on Wednesday after he met with Jackson in his office, acknowledging that part of the reason for the quick deadline was due to his party’s weak content in the Senate.
“There’s no reason to wait,” Durbin said, though Breyer said he wouldn’t leave the bench until the summer. He noted that the committee is also familiar with Jackson, who had just been approved as a judge of the Court of Appeals last year, and had previously been approved twice by the Senate.
The accelerated term is just one of the by-products of party-strengthening and a decade of gradual rule changes in the once-collegiate Senate. The majority party knows it can be confirmed by a simple majority, and bipartisan coverage is more symbolic than necessary. While the Senate once took up to two months to consider cases and powers before questioning the candidate, Republicans held hearings just two weeks after Barrett was nominated to replace the late liberalization of Ruth Bader Ginzburg as the presidential election approached.
The senators will have a little more time to review Jackson’s record, but not much.
Republicans did not receive the small footprint that confirmed Barrett and two other judges, Neil Gorsach and Brett Cavanaugh, while they controlled the Senate, and President Donald Trump was in office. Few Republican senators are expected to vote for Jackson, and some have questioned whether she is too liberal until they spend a lot of political energy to oppose her.
Texas Sen. John Cornin, a member of the Republican Judicial Board, said, “I don’t think there are many secrets here,” because Jackson is not a newcomer to the committee.
“Given that it is not going to change the balance, the ideological balance on the platform, I think people will be respectful and they will be attentive to the issues, but I think we all have a good idea that the result will probably be if there will be no big surprise, ”Cornin said.
So far there have been a few surprises with Jackson, who has been a federal judge for nine years and is very much loved by members of both sides.
After his own meeting with Jackson, the leader of the Democratic Party in the Senate Chuck Schumer said that the Senate will move her candidacy “fairly but quickly.”
He told reporters about the nominee, saying she is an “optimistic person” who is trying to see all sides of the problem. He said they talked about her judicial philosophy, but mostly about her life and family.
“You can be sure that when you meet her, she has real sympathy,” Sumer said. “I think being a judge is very important because you have two sides in any case to be able to empathize and take the place of another person.”
Jackson also met with Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell and Iowa Sen. Chuck Grasley, a senior Republican on the Senate Judiciary. Speaking about the ongoing guerrilla fighting for Trump’s three candidates, especially Cavanaugh, Grasley told reporters before the meeting that Republicans would treat Jackson “with dignity and fairness and, most importantly, thoroughly.”
Traditionally, the hearing this month will last four days, with introductory remarks on March 21 and testimony and interrogation over the next two days. On the fourth day there will be testimonies of outside witnesses.
Biden spoke about Jackson and honored Breyer in his speech on the state of the Union on Tuesday night, calling the candidate “one of the main legal minds of our country who will continue the legacy of Judge Breer’s best practices.”
In addition to her time as a federal judge, Jackson, 51, once worked as one of Breyer’s lawyers and served on the U.S. Sentencing Commission, an agency that develops federal sentencing policies.
Biden said she was a “consensus builder,” noting her work as a private judge and federal public defender, and noted that she comes from a family of public school teachers and police officers.
Although Democrats can get Jackson’s approval without Republicans, provided the cactus is present and healthy, they still hope win some Voices of the Republican Party. Durbin said he was working on that goal, predicting that there could be “about half a dozen” Republican votes in the game.
Last year, only Senator Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina voted for Jackson’s confirmation in the Court of Appeals. While Collins was open to vote for Jackson again, Murkowski said in a statement last week that her previous vote did not mean she would support it this time.
Graham pushed for another candidate from his home state, Federal Judge J. Michelle Childs, and expressed disappointment that she was not elected by Biden.
Sumer said that Jackson is the one who should address all parties, noting her past as a public defender and support of some police groups, for example.
He said he hopes that if Republicans meet with her, “they will be as surprised as I am. She is an amazing person. ”
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