Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), who hails from one of the most conservative states in the country, announced Monday that he will vote for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to serve as the first Black woman on the Supreme Court and praised her as “a person of honor.”
Romney, who voted twice to convict former President Trump on impeachment charges and played a central role in negotiating a bipartisan infrastructure bill last year, took another big step toward the center by announcing his plan to vote in favor of Jackson’s confirmation.
“After reviewing Judge Jackson’s record and testimony, I have concluded that she is a well-qualified jurist and a person of honor. 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,” Romney said in a statement.
Romney joined fellow centrist GOP Sens. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Susan Collins (Maine) as the only three Republicans to announce their support for Jackson.
The Utah Republican voted against confirming Jackson to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in June of last year — splitting with Murkowski and Collins, who voted to seat her on the appellate court.
But Romney had warm words for the nominee after meeting with her last week.
“Her dedication to public service and her family are obvious, and I enjoyed our meeting,” he said.
The announcement raises new questions about whether Romney, who is 75, will run for a second Senate term in 2024.
His Republican colleague from Utah, Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), gave Jackson a poor rating when he discussed her nomination with the Senate Republican Conference at a recent lunch meeting, according to senators who attended.
Lee voted Monday against discharging her nomination from the Judiciary Committee.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has also come out strongly against Jackson and on Monday bashed her record on immigration, the latest hot-button topic after the Biden administration last week rescinded Title 42 restrictions that have prevented migrants at the Southern border from making asylum claims during the pandemic.
McConnell bashed Jackson’s decision in Make the Road New York v. McAleenan, which was later overruled by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. Jackson ruled against the Department of Homeland Security’s effort to expand the pool of immigrants eligible for expedited approval.
“In one case she ignored the plain text of the law to reach a more liberal outcome. She even tried to force a nationwide injunction on the entire country. Judge Jackson went so far beyond the law to remake immigration policy that even the liberal D.C. Circuit had to overturn her mistaken ruling,” he said.
—Updated at 7:35 p.m.
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