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Sen. Joe Manchin will vote for Supreme Court pick Ketanji Brown Jackson, boosting her confirmation chances

Chairman Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., speaks during a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing on pending nominations in Dirksen Building on Tuesday, February 8, 2022.

Tom Williams | CQ-Roll Call, Inc. | Getty Images

Sen. Joe Manchin said Friday that he will vote for Ketanji Brown Jackson to become the next Supreme Court justice, all but ensuring she will become the first Black woman to sit on the top U.S. court.

“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,” the West Virginia Democrat said in a statement.

Jackson can win confirmation with the support of 50 senators in the evenly split chamber, where Vice President Kamala Harris holds the tie-breaking vote. No Democrats have signaled they will oppose her in a vote expected to take place next month.

But Manchin, one of the most conservative Democrats in the Senate, has broken with President Joe Biden and the rest of his caucus on several major issues, leading some to worry about whether he would support Jackson.

In his statement Friday, Manchin praised the 51-year-old Jackson’s lengthy judicial resume and her character.

“Judge Jackson’s record and career are exemplary,” Manchin said. “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.”

He also touted Jackson’s “deep love” of West Virginia, noting that the judge and her family “spend a great deal of time” in the Mountain State.

“I am confident Judge Jackson is supremely qualified and has the disposition necessary to serve as our nation’s next Supreme Court Justice,” he said.

Manchin’s endorsement all but assures that Jackson will win the support of all Senate Democrats, propelling her to the high court bench. She got another boost Friday when Sen. Jon Tester, a centrist Democrat from Montana, said he would vote to confirm her.

It is unclear if any Republicans will vote for her. Three GOP senators — Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska — voted for Jackson last year, when Biden nominated her to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

But during her Supreme Court confirmation hearings this week, Graham criticized Jackson’s record and judgment. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., also said Thursday that he would vote against Jackson.

The Senate Judiciary Committee aims to vote on Jackson’s nomination on April 4, Chair Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said Wednesday. If it passes, the nomination will move to a final vote in the full Senate.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said Thursday that his chamber “is on track” to confirm Jackson “by the end of this work period,” or an April 8 deadline.

This is breaking news. Please check back for updates.

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