Republican Maine Senator Backs Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson

Susan Collins, a Republican from Maine, announced Tuesday that she would approve the affirmation of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the United States Supreme Court. 

Collins, who sat with Jackson for the 2nd time Tuesday afternoon, told The New York Times in an appearance that Jackson allayed some of Collins’ worries following the judge’s appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee last week. 

“I have chosen to support Judge Jackson’s appointment to the Supreme Court,” said Collins, who previously opposed Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s appointment in 2020. She argued that her nomination came too close to the presidential race. 

Discussion with Jackson

The Republican senator stated that Jackson told her that she would not “bend the law to accommodate a personal preference,” adding that Jackson satisfied Collins’ requirements for Supreme Court justices. 

“Senators on both sides of the political aisle have strayed from what I believe is the proper process to evaluate judicial nominations in recent years,” Collins said. “In my opinion, the Senate’s job under the Constitution is to examine the nominee’s credentials, competence, and qualifications. It is not to determine if a nominee reflects the senator’s personal views or will vote exactly as the senator wishes.” 

If Collins votes for Jackson, The Times wrote, Vice President Kamala Harris would not be required to cast the deciding vote—an “unusual conclusion that some feared would be detrimental to the court’s standing.” 

According to The Times, Collins was also one of three Republicans who voted for Jackson’s confirmation to the United States Supreme Court. 

Her statement is certain to enrage Senate Republicans, such as Republican Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley, who previously cited Jackson’s record of leniency toward felons who viewed or disseminated child pornography. 

Jackson and her supporters have justified her record by claiming her punishments were based on probation officers’ advice.

Although, Hawley and other senators noted Jackson’s penalties were even lighter than those recommended.  Collins did not reply to requests for comment on this topic. 

Stance on Barrett in 2020

Additionally, the Maine senator told The Times Jackson guaranteed she would “forever remain out of” the problem of court-packing. 

“I do not expect to agree with every decision made by any justices, that is impossible,” the senator stated.

“However, I want them to be free of prejudice, partisanship, and favor, and to rule by legal precedent, the wording of the law, and the Constitution.” 

Collins stated her vote against Barrett in 2020 had nothing to do with Barrett’s character. 

“Because this vote will take place before the election, I will vote against Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s appointment,” she said in a statement at the time.

“To be clear, my decision does not represent an assessment of Judge Barrett’s eligibility to serve on the Supreme Court.”