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Ketanji Brown Jackson: Murkowski, Romney break ranks, signal support for Supreme Court nomination

The Senate Judiciary Committee met Monday to vote on the nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court.

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Update 8:45 p.m. EDT April 4: Republican Sens. Mitt Romney of Utah and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska voted late Monday to advance Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court, The New York Times reported.

Romney and Murkowski joined Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, in supporting Jackson’s nomination to the high court, bucking their party’s resistance to the nominee, which was illustrated earlier in the day when all 11 Republicans on the Judiciary Committee voted against the nomination, deadlocking the panel.

The party-line impasse then forced a procedural vote, which passed 53 to 47, to advance the nomination out of the committee, the Times reported.

Update 4:53 p.m. EDT April 4: In an 11-11 vote, the Senate Judiciary Committee deadlocked along party lines Monday on whether to send Ketanji Brown Jackson’s Supreme Court nomination to the Senate floor, The Associated Press reported.

Despite the expected setback, Brown’s appointment as the first Black woman on the high court remains on track for confirmation by week’s end.

>> Related: What happens if there is a tie in the Senate committee vote on Ketanji Brown Jackson?

According to the AP, Democrats planned a new vote to “discharge” Jackson’s nomination from committee Monday evening and then take a series of procedural steps in the coming days to wind it through the 50-50 Senate. With the support of at least one Republican, Maine Sen. Susan Collins, Jackson is on a glidepath toward confirmation by the end of the week.

Update 1:44 p.m. EDT April 4: Sen. Alex Padilla, R-California, did not make the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Monday, causing a delay in the vote on recommending Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s nomination, to be sent to the full Senate for consideration.

Padilla was to fly to Washington on Sunday, but a medical emergency on the plane forced a return to California and caused Padilla to get another flight that was not leaving until Monday.

“Due to a passenger medical emergency, Sen. Padilla’s flight was turned back and returned to LAX, delaying his arrival to Washington,” Padilla’s spokesperson told The Los Angeles Times. “He boarded the first available flight this morning (Monday) and will arrive this afternoon.”

According to FlightAware, flights from Los Angeles International Airport leaving Monday morning are due to arrive in Washington, D.C. around 4 p.m.

The committee chairman, Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Illinois, said the panel will wait for Padilla’s arrival to vote.

Original story:

The Senate Judiciary Committee will meet Monday to vote on the nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court.

The vote will be the first measure this week aimed to bring a final vote by Friday for President Joe Biden’s pick to replace retiring Justice Stephen Breyer.

If all 11 Democrats on the committee vote in favor of Jackson’s confirmation, and all 11 Republicans vote against the nomination, under Senate rules the nomination would still advance to a full Senate vote, though Democrats will have to spend additional hours on the Senate floor to “discharge” her nomination from committee.

If a Democrat on the committee were to vote against her nomination, then the nomination would stall in committee.

A deadlocked vote would be “a truly unfortunate signal of the continued descent into dysfunction of our confirmation process,” said Delaware Sen. Chris Coons, a Democrat on the committee.

The committee will have unlimited time to explain their recommendations before the vote.

If the panel votes to confirm Jackson, or if the vote is a tie, her nomination will move to the full Senate for a final vote. It’s expected that that vote will take place sometime this week. Jackson’s nomination is likely to be confirmed by the full Senate after Maine’s Republican Sen. Susan Collins said last week that she intends to vote for Jackson when the nomination comes before the Senate. It takes a simple majority –— 51 votes –— to confirm a Supreme Court nominee.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, has urged Senate Republicans to vote against Jackson’s confirmation. McConnell said his opposition is not based on “race or gender,” but on concerns about Jackson’s judicial philosophy and claims of her history of being soft on crime.

If Jackson’s nomination is confirmed, she will be the first Black woman to serve on the nation’s highest court. She would assume the seat on the Supreme Court when Breyer retires after the court’s term ends in June.

The committee will meet at 10 a.m. EDT to consider and vote on the nomination.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.