Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee placed a weeklong hold on the vote to advance Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s Supreme Court nomination to a floor vote on March 28, citing gaps in Jackson’s record and incomplete documentation from the White House.
After four days of close scrutiny by the equally divided Judiciary Committee, the committee vote to confirm Jackson was set to take place on March 28. However, it was clear to observers, including Chairman Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), that committee Republicans would place a hold on the vote.
Ranking Republican member Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said: “I join in the request to hold over the [nomination] for one week.”
“I’ll have specific things to say about Judge Jackson at that meeting a week from today, but I want to just speak a little bit about process.
“Democrats have taken to repeatedly mentioning that Judge Jackson has been confirmed by the Senate three times—two of which were non-controversial—using votes for positions like the U.S. Sentencing Commission.”
He warned against the Democrats’ efforts to compare the two, saying it “is going to make it much harder to confirm anyone to those positions, it encourages senators to apply the same standard used for evaluating Supreme Court nominations to every single position.”
In addition, Grassley said, Jackson’s record is “unfortunately … incomplete.”
“That’s because information has been withheld,” he said, citing a laundry list of nonpublic documents from Jackson’s time in the U.S. Sentencing Commission, 48,000 pages of documents held back by the Obama White House, and many others.
“It appears the White House wants to hide [Jackson’s] record.
“So with so much information withheld, we’ve examined her record and there were a lot of questions about Judge Jackson’s judicial philosophy.”
Grassley referenced a common line of questioning last week with vague answers that left lawmakers from both sides of the aisle dissatisfied.
“I will speak more on Judge Jackson during next week’s markup, when we hopefully vote her out of the committee,” Durbin said, foreseeing the GOP hold.
The hold extends the committee vote on Jackson to April 4, and Republicans have few tools at their disposal to slow it further.
Jackson’s confirmation can be brought to the floor by Durbin in the event of a tie vote in the committee.
Historically, such nominations have required a majority to advance but, under rules established by Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) at the beginning of the 117th Congress, Senate leadership agreed to allow tie votes to advance on the recommendation of a committee chairman.
Jackson’s nomination is expected to breeze through the committee when it comes to a vote. On the Senate floor, Jackson is set to receive the support of a majority of Democrats, including swing-voting Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.).