Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) on Wednesday became the first Republican to express her support for Ketanji Brown Jackson, all but assuring she will be confirmed as the first Black woman to sit on the Supreme Court.
It took a second meeting with Jackson on Tuesday afternoon for Collins to feel comfortable that the federal judge and former public defender would not be “bending the law to meet a personal preference,” as Collins told The New York Times in an interview.
“In recent years, senators on both sides of the aisle have gotten away from what I perceive to be the appropriate process for evaluating judicial nominees,” the centrist senator said. “In my view, the role under the Constitution assigned to the Senate is to look at the credentials, experience and qualifications of the nominee. It is not to assess whether a nominee reflects the individual ideology of a senator or would vote exactly as an individual senator would want.”
Collins added that Jackson assured her that, on the topic of expanding the court, she “would forever stay out of that issue.”
Collins has backed Supreme Court nominees from Democratic administrations before, having voted to confirm Sonia Sotomayor in 2009 and Elena Kagan the following year. Collins also opposed the confirmation of conservative Amy Coney Barrett, whom former President Trump nominated just before the 2020 election.
Collins may not be the only Republicans to vote to confirm Jackson. Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) meet with her on Tuesday, according to the Times, and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) may also join Collins.