As Democrats cheer Jackson pick, Republicans pledge respectful review

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson speaks at the White House after President Joe Biden introduced her as his nomination to the Supreme Court on Feb 25, 2022. PHOTO: NYTIMES

WASHINGTON (NYTIMES) - Democrats on Friday (Feb 25) promised a swift confirmation process for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, celebrating President Joe Biden's pick for the Supreme Court as Republicans signalled that they had little appetite for a toxic battle over the first Black woman to be nominated for the post.

While Democrats and their progressive allies extolled Jackson as a brilliant and qualified choice, many Republicans said her selection reflected the power of the "radical left" over Biden.

Despite the disagreement, there were early indications that Jackson's review could avoid the kind of scorched-earth partisanship of recent Supreme Court fights. Given the historic nature of her nomination and the fact that she would not change the court's 6-3 conservative tilt, leading Republicans did not seem inclined to engage in a bitter clash that they were almost certain to lose.

Even as he dismissed Jackson as "the favoured choice of far-left dark-money groups" and noted that he had opposed her confirmation in the past, Republican Senator Mitch McConnell, the minority leader, said he looked forward to meeting her in person. It was a far cry from 2016, when he refused to sit down with Merrick Garland, President Barack Obama's pick for the court, whose nomination he killed.

The uncharacteristically muted statements from McConnell and many others reflected Republicans' concern about appearing overly aggressive in attacking the first Black female nominee.

Top Democrats have said they would like the Senate to vote on Jackson's nomination by Apr 8, before a scheduled two-week recess. The process will begin in earnest next week, when she begins so-called courtesy meetings with Republican and Democratic senators.

The fact that she underwent Senate review for her seat on the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit less than a year ago should bolster the chances of sticking to that timeline.

But the conflict in Ukraine and Washington's focus on it could upset the plans and slow her consideration. In addition, one Democrat, Senator Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico, had a stroke last month and has been absent. Democrats will want all their members on hand for the final vote in case they are needed.

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