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GOP lawmakers now interested in a 'vigorous' review of a Supreme Court nominee

Senate Republicans led by Mitch McConnell rushed to appoint Trump Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett. They’re hoping for a much longer process under Biden.

By Josh Israel - February 25, 2022
Mitch McConnell

President Joe Biden announced Friday that he will nominate Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to replace retiring Justice Stephen Breyer, making her the first Black woman ever nominated to the Supreme Court. Senate Republicans quickly suggested they would try to force a much longer confirmation process for Jackson than they had allowed for then-President Donald Trump’s last nominee to the court, Justice Amy Coney Barrett, and some criticized Jackson’s historic nomination itself.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell released a statement that said, “I look forward to meeting with Judge Jackson in person and carefully reviewing her nomination during the vigorous and thorough Senate process that the American people deserve.”

North Dakota Sen. Kevin Cramer said he wants a “hearty, open dialogue” about Jackson’s qualifications. “North Dakotans expect a thorough review of her record and I plan to do just that.”

Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso, who chairs the Senate Republican Conference, was more explicit about his hopes for a slow confirmation. “It is critical that the Senate takes all the time it needs to thoroughly evaluate Judge Jackson’s record and past decisions. The American people cannot afford for this process to be rushed,” he wrote.

McConnell, Cramer, and Barrasso all voted to end debate and confirm Amy Coney Barrett in October 2020 a mere 30 days after Trump picked her to succeed the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg — and just eight days before the American people voted not to reelect Trump to a second term.

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, who had pushed Biden to pick a different nominee from him home state, complained, “If media reports are accurate, and Judge Jackson has been chosen as the Supreme Court nominee to replace Justice Breyer, it means the radical Left has won President Biden over yet again.” Graham, who voted to confirm Jackson to her current appeals court judgeship just last June, criticized Biden for picking a nominee who attended Harvard Law School, one of the country’s top-rated law schools, tweeting, “The Harvard-Yale train to the Supreme Court continues to run unabated.”

Eight of the nine current justices on the Supreme Court received their law degrees from the law schools at Harvard or Yale, but Graham voiced no such objections when he voted to confirm six of them, including Yale Law alumnus Brett Kavanaugh and Harvard Law graduate Neil Gorsuch, both nominated by Trump.

In his statement, while he said he looked forward to the process of vetting Jackson, McConnell took the opportunity to suggest that he thought she was not qualified for the position and that her nomination was due to pressure from “far-left dark-money groups”:

I voted against confirming Judge Jackson to her current position less than a year ago. Since then, I understand that she has published a total of two opinions, both in the last few weeks, and that one of her prior rulings was just reversed by a unanimous panel of her present colleagues on the D.C. Circuit. I also understand Judge Jackson was the favored choice of far-left dark-money groups that have spent years attacking the legitimacy and structure of the Court itself.

With eight years of experience as a district court judge and her months on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, Jackson has far more experience on the bench than Coney Barrett and more than most other nominees had since 1900.

Tennessee Sen. Marsha Blackburn charged that Biden’s announcement of the nomination was itself an attempt at deception: “President Biden’s announcement just days after an unprovoked full scale invasion by Russia is extremely inappropriate. Once again, Biden is putting the demands of the radical progressive left ahead of what is best for our nation.” She went on:

It is an attempt to hide that for over three months Biden refused to levy sanctions against Russia or send military assistance to Ukraine. However, I cannot hold President Biden’s failure to lead our nation against his nominee. I do plan on meeting with the President’s nominee in person, and thoroughly vetting her record to determine if she is a person of high character. A Supreme Court nominee must be committed to upholding the rule of law and Constitution as written. We must not blindly confirm a justice to serve as a rubber stamp for a radical progressive agenda.

The Republican National Committee explicitly opposed Biden’s pick on Friday morning, tweeting: “Joe Biden just nominated a radical, left-wing activist to serve a lifetime appointment on the Supreme Court. His pick was the preferred choice of far-left special interests. Republicans will make sure voters know how radical his pick really is.”

Florida Sen. Rick Scott, who chairs the National Republican Senatorial Committee, shared the tweet.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

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