Not much of a fight expected, but it could still get ugly
Besides Graham, several other Republican senators have put out a range of statements. Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina expressed disappointment that Biden didn’t pick Childs. Senator Mitt Romney of Utah called her nomination “historic.” Collins, whose input will be critical to securing the bipartisan support Biden wants, called her “an experienced federal judge with impressive academic and legal credentials.”
None of them committed to voting for Jackson, however. On the left, a nexus of newly empowered activists could alienate some Republican senators, Hill aides say. On the right, powerful conservative legal advocacy groups such as the Judicial Crisis Network might be itching for a showdown that Senate moderates don’t want.
“Conservative voters expect senators to stand up and fight,” said Bobby Donachie, vice president of Athos, which represents several right-leaning organizations involved in judicial nominations. “Any Republican who votes for Jackson will have to answer for the decisions she makes.”
But, as our colleague Carl Hulse has reported, Republican leaders don’t appear to have much appetite for a protracted nomination battle. They probably don’t have the votes, and are leery of giving Democrats an opening to level charges of racism.
That doesn’t mean they’ll vote for Jackson. Mitch McConnell, the Senate’s top Republican and its leading strategist on judicial nominations, noted that he previously voted against her and said in a statement that she was the “favored choice of far-left dark-money groups that have spent years attacking the legitimacy and structure of the Court itself.”
Republican committees and outside groups, meanwhile, will use the occasion to raise money and build their mailing lists. In their statement, Senate Republicans said Democrats had “blindly rubber-stamped Joe Biden’s disastrous liberal agenda.” House Republicans sent out an email asking voters to help the group “STOP Biden’s radical Supreme Court nominee.”
Jeremy Paris, who worked on four Supreme Court nominations at senior levels as a Democratic aide in the Senate, said that he expected “relatively smooth sailing” for Jackson.