Senate confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson were held this week and, given the near-certainty that her nomination will be approved by the Democrat-controlled Judiciary Committee, she will soon face a confirmation vote among the full Senate body.
The top Republican in that chamber, however, Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), announced Thursday that he would be a “No” vote on Judge Jackson’s nomination, Fox News reported.
To be sure, while other Republican senators are not bound to vote the same as Leader McConnell, his publicly expressed position on the nominee could serve as an example and perhaps help sway the vote of some undecided establishment GOP senators.
“I cannot and will not support” nomination
“The Judiciary Committee has completed its hearing for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson,” Sen. McConnell said Thursday in his Senate floor speech. “I enjoyed meeting the nominee. I went into the Senate’s process with an open mind.”
“But after studying the nominee’s record and watching her performance this week, I cannot and will not support Judge Jackson for a lifetime appointment to our highest Court,” the Kentucky Republican added.
— CSPAN (@cspan) March 24, 2022
McConnell has reasons
Sen. McConnell proceeded to highlight four distinct reasons for his determination to vote against Judge Jackson’s nomination, the first of which was her signaled openness to the idea of “court-packing,” or adding additional jurists to the high court to alter its ideological balance.
He also took issue with Jackson’s unclear judicial philosophy which, whatever it may be, isn’t “textualist” or “originalist” or “strict constructionist” as he would prefer.
McConnell also noted the judge’s “troubling” record as a trial judge in which she issued “soft” sentences for certain criminals — such as those convicted of child pornography — and called out her apparent support for “judicial activism” in which judges seek to change or make laws instead of simply interpreting and upholding them.
Dodges and non-answers to pertinent questions
Of course, Sen. McConnell is certainly not the only Republican to have decided to vote against Judge Jackson’s nomination after having listened to her responses to numerous questions on a variety of topics over the past few days.
Jackson may be hard-pressed to find any GOP support given how, according to a separate report from Fox News, she repeatedly dodged or provided non-answers to many of the direct and, at times, relatively simple and clear queries that were posed to her.
That said, Democrats need only a simple majority in the evenly-split Senate to confirm Judge Jackson to the nation’s highest court, so even if every single Republican follows McConnell’s lead, Jackson could still be confirmed by a united Democratic caucus plus a tie-breaking vote from Vice President Kamala Harris.