Moderate Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin (W.Va.) said Friday he plans to vote in support of President Biden’s controversial Supreme Court nominee, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, all but ensuring she will be confirmed to the nation’s top court.
In a statement posted to Twitter, Manchin said, “I met with Judge Jackson and evaluated her qualifications to be a Supreme Court Justice. After meeting with her, considering her record, and closely monitoring her testimony and questioning before the Senate Judiciary Committee this week, I have determined I intend to vote for her nomination to serve on the Supreme Court.”
The senator also made note of Jackson’s “exemplary” and “impressive” resume and said her “wide array of experiences” in varying sectors of the judicial system have given her a “unique perspective” that will serve the court well.
Jackson currently sits on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. She is a graduate of Harvard University with nine years of experience as a federal judge. She has also served as a public defender and a member of the U.S. Sentencing Commission.
Manchin is perhaps the most closely watched senator in the chamber, as his vote often sways the evenly divided body one way or the other. His affirmative vote for Jackson, though unsurprising, likely guarantees that she will pass through confirmation and soon replace outgoing Justice Stephen Breyer on the bench.
According to CNN, Democrats in the chamber hope to move quickly by holding a confirmation vote by early next month. The party can confirm Jackson without any Republican votes so long as every Democratic member supports her nomination and Vice President Kamala Harris votes to break a 50-50 tie.
It remains unclear whether Jackson will receive any votes from Republican members of the chamber. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced this week that he would oppose Jackson’s nomination.
During confirmation hearings, Republicans have primarily confronted Jackson about her controversial sentencing of a convicted child pornographer to just three months in prison. In the case, Jackson made sympathetic comments about the defendant and his family and said she did not believe he was a pedophile.
But Jackson also raised eyebrows across the country this week when she amazingly refused to define the word “woman,” claiming she is “not a biologist.” The remarks immediately drew ire from conservatives and were considered especially absurd given the fact that Jackson’s own womanhood was a primary factor in her own nomination.
Breyer has been considered to be one of three liberal justices on the bench, and so the court’s ideological makeup will remain intact with Jackson’s confirmation. Conservatives are assumed to currently hold a 6-3 majority.