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Senate votes to proceed with Ketanji Brown Jackson's Supreme Court nomination

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Senate votes to proceed with Ketanji Brown Jackson's Supreme Court nomination
Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson testifies during the third day of her Senate judiciary committee confirmation hearing on March 23. Jackson was nominated by President Joe Biden to fill Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer's seat when he retires this summer. Photo by Ken Cedeno/UPI | License Photo

April 4 (UPI) -- The full Senate voted to proceed with the confirmation process of Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson Monday after the judiciary committee's initial vote was deadlocked.

The Senate voted 53-47 in the procedural vote to advance Jackson's nomination to succeed retiring Justice Stephen Breyer on the high court following the judiciary committee's vote ended in an 11-11 tie earlier Monday.

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The panel's vote was split along party lines with all 11 Democrats voting in favor of advancing the nomination, while all 11 Republicans opposed.

However, GOP Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Mitt Romney of Utah, and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska joined the 50 Democrats in the full Senate in voting to discharge the nomination from the committee and expressed that they would also vote in favor of her confirmation later this week.

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"My support rests on Judge Jackson's qualifications, which no one questions; her demonstrated judicial independence; her demeanor and temperament and the important perspective she would bring to the court as a replacement for Justice Bayer," Murkowski said in a statement.

Romney said he found Jackson to be a "well-qualified jurist and a person of honor" after reviewing her record and testimony.

"While I do not expect to agree with every decision she may make on the court, I believe that she more than meets the standard of excellence and integrity," he said.

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Collins said last week that she will vote to confirm Jackson, noting that " she possesses the experience, qualifications, and integrity to serve as an Associate Justice on the Supreme Court."

Jackson's confirmation is also expected to receive the support of every Democrat, including Joe Manchin of West Virginia who has often sided with Republicans on issues.

If confirmed, Jackson would assume her seat on the Supreme Court when Breyer retires after its current term ends in June. She is the first Black woman ever nominated for the high court.

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Prior to its vote, the Senate judiciary committee, which questioned Jackson in confirmation hearings two weeks ago, held its final review Monday morning to consider her nomination.

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The day began with statements by the panel for and against Jackson's confirmation, as the vote was pushed back until later in the day due to the absence of Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Calif., whose overnight flight from Los Angeles to Washington was delayed.

"Judge Jackson was questioned for a total of 24 hours by this committee," Chairman Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said at the start of Monday's hearing. "Two things are clear. For one, she has impeccable qualifications ... and she has nearly a decade of experience on the bench at both the trial and appellate levels."

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, the panel's ranking Republican, expressed his misgivings with Jackson's nomination during the Monday hearing.

"Having carefully studied her record, unfortunately I think she and I have fundamental different views on the role of judges and the role they should play in our system of government," said Grassley.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. -- who last year found Jackson worthy for her current seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, the nation's second-highest court -- indicated last week that she's too radical to be trusted on the Supreme Court.

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He rejected her "record of judicial activism," "flawed sentencing methodology" and contended that she would "not be deterred by the plain meaning of the law when it comes to liberal causes."

Federal appellate judge Ketanji Brown Jackson speaks at the White House on February 25 after she was announced as President Joe Biden's nominee to succeed Justice Stephen Breyer on the U.S. Supreme Court this summer. File Photo by Mike Theiler/UPI

Republicans seized on child porn cases in Jackson's past in which they said she gave sentences that were below federal guidelines and did not properly factor in the use of computers with the seriousness they deserved.

Jackson, 51, answered the concerns at her confirmation hearings and said that she consistently applied the law and punished those convicted of the crimes appropriately. Representatives of the American Bar Association supported that answer when they appeared before the committee during the hearings and said they found no evidence that she was soft on sentencing criminals.

Biden's choice for the high court also faced criticism from Republicans on other issues including abortion, religion, her past record as a public defender and the makeup of the high court itself, while others alleged she was politically biased. Again, representatives from the ABA testified before the panel that they found no evidence of political bias.

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They explained that none of the 250 judges and attorneys who had firsthand knowledge of Jackson's work "felt she showed bias in any way."

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson's Senate confirmation hearing for U.S. Supreme Court

American Bar Association's Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary member Ann Claire Williams, a witness during the Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing of Ketanji Brown Jackson, testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. on March 24, 2022. Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI | License Photo

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