Manchin Will Vote for Judge Jackson, Making Confirmation Likely

By Joseph Lord
Joseph Lord
Joseph Lord
Joseph Lord is a congressional reporter for The Epoch Times.
March 25, 2022 Updated: March 25, 2022

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) says he will vote to confirm Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court, making her confirmation almost inevitable.

“Senators have a constitutional obligation to advise and consent on a nominee to fill a Supreme Court vacancy and this is a responsibility I take very seriously,” said Manchin in a statement. “Just as I have with previous Supreme Court nominees, I met with Judge Jackson and evaluated her qualifications to be a Supreme Court Justice.”

“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.

“Judge Jackson’s record and career are exemplary. Judge Jackson was educated in our public school system and, through her hard work, graduated with academic honors from Harvard University and Harvard Law School,” he continued. “She went on to clerk for three federal judges of varying political ideologies at every level of our federal judiciary, including the Supreme Court.”

“She spent time practicing at private law firms and served on the U.S. Sentencing Commission. She also served as an Assistant Federal Public Defender—defending those who cannot afford legal representation which is a pillar of our judicial system. She served as a U.S. District Court Judge for the District of Columbia and as a D.C. Circuit Judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals before being nominated to serve on the Supreme Court.

“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,” Manchin continued. “During our meeting, she was warm and gracious. On top of her impressive resume, she has the temperament to make an exceptional jurist.

“Notably, Judge Jackson and her family spend a great deal of time in West Virginia and her deep love of our state and commitment to public service were abundantly clear. I am confident Judge Jackson is supremely qualified and has the disposition necessary to serve as our nation’s next Supreme Court Justice,” Manchin concluded.

Manchin’s commitment to vote for Jackson makes her confirmation all but inevitable.

On several occasions, the self-described “conservative Democrat” has been the deciding vote in Democrats’ Senate caucus. Opponents of Jackson looked to Manchin as the most likely swing vote to tip the scales against President Joe Biden’s nominee to replace outgoing Justice Stephen Breyer.

Across four days of tough questioning, Republicans sharply scrutinized Jackson’s record on sentencing those in possession of child porn.

In cases where she had no discretion due to mandatory minimum sentencing laws, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said, Jackson gave the recommended sentence “because she had no choice.”

But in several cases where she was not subject to mandatory minimums, Cruz contended that Jackson gave sentences well below state recommendations.

In one case, United States v. Chazin, prosecutors asked for a 78 to 97-month prison sentence, but Jackson ultimately gave him a 28-month sentence. In another, U.S. v. Hawkins, prosecutors requested 24 months in prison, but Jackson only gave the defendant three months. In U.S. v. Stewart, the defendant received a 57-month sentence, far below the 97 months requested by the state.

On average, Cruz said, Jackson gave 47.2 percent less time behind bars than prosecutors asked for.

“Do you believe the voice of the children is heard when 100 percent of the time you’re sentencing those in possession of child pornography to far below what the prosecutors asked for?” Cruz asked.

“Yes senator, I do,” Jackson responded.

In another viral exchange, Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) asked Jackson to define what a woman is and Jackson refused, saying she is “not a biologist.”

Republicans hoped to use these issues to flip public opinion, and Manchin’s opinion, against Jackson. With his commitment to vote for her, however, few Democrats remain who may vote against the nominee.

While there are several other moderate members of the Senate Democrat caucus, including Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.), none have indicated any intention to vote against Jackson.

Joseph Lord
Joseph Lord is a congressional reporter for The Epoch Times.