By Lawrence Hurley
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -Democratic Senator Joe Manchin on Friday said he would vote to confirm U.S. Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson, with the support from the influential moderate signaling that she will have the votes to overcome widespread Republican opposition.
Manchin’s announcement is further evidence that Democrats are united on supporting President Joe Biden’s nominee to be the first Black woman on the Supreme Court. With a simple majority needed for confirmation and the Senate divided 50-50 between the parties, Jackson would get the job even if no Republicans vote for her.
“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,” Manchin said in a statement.
“Her wide array of experiences in varying sectors of our judicial system have provided Judge Jackson a unique perspective that will serve her well on our nation’s highest court,” he added.
Biden in February nominated Jackson to replace liberal Justice Stephen Breyer, who intends to retire at the end of June. The committee is likely to vote on April 4 on sending her nomination to the full Senate for a final confirmation vote.
Jackson faced two days of hostile questioning from Republicans during her confirmation hearing earlier this week, with several accusing her of being lenient in her previous role as a federal trial court judge in sentencing child pornography offenders. Sentencing experts said her approach was similar to most federal judges.
(Reporting by Lawrence HurleyEditing by Chizu Nomiyama and Jonathan Oatis)