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Senate nears final vote to confirm Supreme Court pick Ketanji Brown Jackson

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson listens to U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) speak on the third day of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearings on her nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court, on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., March 23, 2022.
Elizabeth Frantz | Reuters

Senate Democrats are racing toward a final vote as soon as Thursday afternoon to confirm Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson as the first Black woman to sit on the top U.S. court.

The Senate is set to hold a procedural vote to advance President Joe Biden’s first Supreme Court nominee around 11 a.m. ET.

If passed, it would set up a vote as early as 1:45 p.m. ET to elevate Jackson to the Supreme Court.

“It will be a joyous day,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said on the Senate floor Wednesday night.

Schumer aimed to confirm Jackson, a 51-year-old federal judge, to the high court by the end of the week, before senators leave town for a two-week recess. After Jackson emerged from her grueling confirmation hearings relatively unscathed and won the support of three Republican senators, the Senate is now poised to wrap up her historic nomination process ahead of schedule.

Jackson had a path to the high court even if no Republicans supported her. Her confirmation requires only a simple majority in the Senate, which is split 50-50 between the Democratic caucus and Republicans.

If the Senate deadlocked on Jackson’s confirmation, Vice President Kamala Harris would be able to cast the tie-breaking vote.

But Jackson is set to breeze past the finish line in a bipartisan vote, as three centrist Republican senators — Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Mitt Romney of Utah — have vowed to vote for her.

“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 announcing his support Monday.

Jackson is poised to replace retiring Justice Stephen Breyer, who was nominated to the bench in 1994 by President Bill Clinton. Her confirmation will maintain the liberal wing of the court, which leans 6-3 toward conservatives after the appointment of three of former President Donald Trump’s picks.

Jackson’s supporters have said she will bring a needed perspective, both as the first Black woman and the first former public defender to sit on the top U.S. court.

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