Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) has become the first Republican to cross party lines in support of Biden Supreme Court nominee, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson.
In a statement to the New York Times, Collins said she made the decision after two personal meetings with Jackson – the second on Tuesday afternoon, which the Senator said ‘alleviated’ some concerns over a host of divisive issues including Jackson’s record of handing down light sentences to pedophiles.
“I have decided to support the confirmation of Judge Jackson to be a member of the Supreme Court,” said Collins.
“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,” she added. “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.“
Her decision will allow Mr. Biden and Senate Democrats to claim some degree of bipartisanship around the historic nomination, though whether other Republicans will join Ms. Collins remains unclear.
If Democrats stay united, it would also avoid the spectacle of Vice President Kamala Harris having to break a tie to seat a nominee on the Supreme Court, an unprecedented outcome that some saw as potentially damaging to the court’s standing. -NYT
Collins has previously been willing to support Democratic Supreme Court picks, saying that presidents should have latitude in their nominees. She notably opposed President Trump’s nomination of Justice Amy Coney Barrett in 2020 – objecting to the vote being held days before the US election. Collins also was one of only three Republicans to vote to confirm Jackson in her current seat on the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit.