Washington — Democratic Congressman Jim Clyburn of South Carolina, the House majority whip, called for Republicans and Democrats alike to support the nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court on Sunday, saying it would demonstrate that the United States continues its pursuit of a more perfect union.
“This is beyond politics,” Clyburn said in an interview with “Face the Nation.” “This is about the country, our pursuit of a more perfect union, and this is demonstrative of another step in that pursuit, and I would hope that all of my Republican friends would look upon it that way. Let’s have a debate, let’s talk to her about her rulings and about her philosophy. But in the final analysis, let’s have a strong, bipartisan support to demonstrate that both parties are still in pursuit of perfection.”
On Friday, President Biden announced he selected Jackson, a federal appeals court judge, as his nominee to replace retiring Justice Stephen Breyer on the Supreme Court. Jackson has served on the federal bench for nearly nine years, as a judge on both the U.S. district court and the U.S court of appeals in the District of Columbia. She also has worked as a federal public defender and was vice chair of the U.S. Sentencing Commission.
With his selection of Jackson, Mr. Biden fulfilled a promise he made on the campaign trail two years ago to name the first Black woman to the Supreme Court, a pledge that was secured by Clyburn. The South Carolina congressman publicly urged the president to select U.S. District Judge J. Michelle Childs for the Supreme Court, citing her educational background at public universities, but said Jackson will also bring a new perspective to the nation’s highest court with her experience representing criminal defendants.
“We all have our personal preferences. We all have our reasonable biases. But in the final analysis, I think this is a good choice,” he said. “It was a choice that brings onto the court a background and some experiences that nobody else on the court will have. And I think when you look at not just her background in the family, life, but also her profession, she was a public defender. That adds a new perspective to the court.”
Jackson, a graduate of Harvard University and Harvard Law School, has the more “traditional” educational background of Supreme Court nominees, Clyburn said, with eight of the court’s current members having gone to either Harvard or Yale law schools.
“This means that we will continue that tradition, and I am one, as you can see, that’s not so much for tradition. I want to see us break as much new ground as possible,” the congressman said.
Jackson could begin meeting with senators as early as next week, kicking off the confirmation battle in the evenly divided Senate. With Democrats and Republicans controlling 50 seats each, and Vice President Kamala Harris casting tie-breaking votes, Jackson does not need Republican backing to be confirmed if all 50 Democrats support her nomination.
Jackson is expected to receive widespread support from Senate Democrats, and it’s unclear whether any Republicans will vote to confirm Jackson. Three GOP senators — Susan Collins of Maine, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska — backed Jackson’s nomination to the U.S. Court of Appeals to the District of Columbia Circuit, though it’s not yet known whether that support extends to her Supreme Court bid.
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