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KBJ begins her congressional charm offensive

by callingemout
SCOTUS nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson meets with Senate leadership

The drive to confirm Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court kicked off smoothly Wednesday morning, with Chuck Schumer playing cheerleader for her first Hill meetings.

Jackson first met with the Senate majority leader and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. She is also slated to meet this afternoon with Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and top Judiciary Republican Chuck Grassley (Iowa).

The Senate Judiciary Committee is set to begin Jackson’s four-day confirmation hearings on March 21. The panel will also meet March 23 behind closed doors to discuss Jackson’s FBI background investigation. Senate leaders are aiming to confirm Jackson to the high court before the Easter recess, a timeline Schumer reiterated he’s pushing for Tuesday.

Following his meeting with Jackson, Schumer praised her character and experience as a public defender.

“She belongs on the court,” Schumer told reporters. “She reminds me in certain ways of Justice [Stephen] Breyer who she clerked for, that she is so thoughtful and even-handed and tries to look at both sides.” He added that the Democrats “want to do this fairly but expeditiously.”

Jackson currently serves as a judge on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals and returned the extensive committee questionnaire this week.

During her visits, Jackson was accompanied by her Senate sherpa, former Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.), as well as White House Counsel Dana Remus, White House Office of Legislative Affairs Director Louisa Terrell, White House Deputy press secretary Andrew Bates and Deputy Director of the White House Office of Legislative Affairs Reema Dodin, a former Durbin staffer.

Senate Democrats can confirm Jackson with their 50-member caucus, but the White House and Democratic leaders are hoping for a bipartisan vote. Three Republican senators — Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Susan Collins of Maine and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina — voted to confirm Jackson to the D.C. Circuit last year. Graham, however, pushed for Biden to nominate South Carolina district court Judge J. Michelle Childs to replace Breyer and has described Jackson as a pick for the “radical left.”

“She deserves support from the other side of the aisle, and I am hopeful that a good number of Republicans will vote for her, given who she is,” Schumer said. “And when they meet her they will just be wowed as I was, she’s an amazing person.”

Senators on both sides of the aisle aren’t expecting a contentious committee process, given Jackson’s confirmation wouldn’t shift the balance of the court. If confirmed, Jackson would be the first Black female justice, fulfilling a Biden campaign pledge.

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