By Clare Foran and Manu Raju, CNN
GOP Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, one of a handful of Republican votes in play as Democrats fight to confirm President Joe Biden’s Supreme Court nominee, praised Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson after meeting with her Tuesday on Capitol Hill, saying it’s “clear that her credentials and the breadth of her experience are impressive.”
Collins emphasized that she will wait to see how the Senate vetting process plays out with upcoming Judiciary Committee hearings before coming to a final decision on the nomination. But the senator said she had a “lengthy and very productive conversation” with Jackson and that the meeting “went well.” The Maine Republican said Jackson “explained in great depth the methodology that she uses as she approaches the cases that come before her.”
Democrats have enough votes to confirm Jackson to the Supreme Court if all members of their caucus are present and voting, but winning GOP votes for the nomination would give Biden a victory with bipartisan support.
Collins also dismissed concerns from some fellow Republicans that the quick timeline Democrats have laid out — following in the model of how Republicans swiftly confirmed Justice Amy Coney Barrett to the high court — will be rushed.
“I think it’s important to recognize that she has been confirmed three times now, so this is not a candidate who is a blank slate to us,” said Collins, who was one of three Republicans who voted with Democrats to confirm Jackson last year to fill a vacancy on a powerful DC-based appellate court.
“To spend more than an hour and a half one-on-one with a judicial nominee gives you quite a bit of information, and finally I have confidence in Chairman Durbin to do a thorough and fair set of hearings,” she said.
“I will, of course, await the hearings before the Judiciary Committee before making a decision, but I found today’s session to be very helpful,” she said.
When asked if any part of Jackson’s judicial philosophy or record gives her pause, Collins said, “Obviously I don’t agree with her on every decision she has rendered, and we discussed the decision where she was overturned by the circuit court, and she explained her reasoning in more depth. But I felt that what I did get from her is that she takes a very thorough, careful approach in applying the law to the facts of the case, and that is what I want to see in a judge.”
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