Sen. Susan Collins of Maine said Wednesday she will vote to confirm Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, giving Democrats at least one Republican vote and everything but to ensure Jackson becomes the first Black woman in the Supreme Court.
Collins said in a statement that she met with Jackson a second time last week after four days of hearings and decided that “she has the experience, qualifications and integrity to serve as a co-judge in the Supreme Court.”
“I would therefore vote to confirm her in this position,” Collins said.
Her support gives Democrats at least a unanimous cushion in the 50-50 Senate and is likely to save them from using Vice President Kamala Harris’ tie to confirm President Joe Biden’s choice. All 50 Democrats are expected to support Jackson, though one notable moderate Democrat, Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Cinema, has not yet said how she will vote.
Jackson, who would replace outgoing judge Stephen Breyer, would be the third black judge, after Thurgood Marshall and Clarence Thomas, and the sixth wife. She would also be the first former public protector in court.
Collins was the most likely Republican to support Jackson, and she chose a history of voting for Supreme Court nominees by presidents from both parties. The only nominee she has voted against since her mid-1990s election is Judge Amy Coney Barrett in 2020.
She said in the statement that she did not expect to always agree with Jackson’s decisions.
“That alone does not disqualify,” Collins said. “Indeed, that statement applies to all six Judges, nominated by both Republican and Democratic Presidents, for whom I voted to confirm.”
It is unclear whether any other GOP senators will vote for Jackson. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said last week he would not support her, citing concerns about her sentencing and her support for liberal advocacy groups.