Senate Republicans' attacks on Ketanji Brown Jackson have fallen flat

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Americans broadly support confirming Judge Jackson to the Supreme Court, recent polling shows.

Senate Republicans have spent the past several weeks making false attacks against Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, President Joe Biden's nominee to the Supreme Court. But a new poll indicates the smears have not convinced the vast majority of American voters, two-thirds of whom back her confirmation.

A Marquette Law School poll released Wednesday found 66% of the nation's adults said they would vote to confirm Jackson — who would become the first Black woman in U.S. history to serve on the high court — if they were members of the Senate. Some 64% of poll respondents who were surveyed before the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings began said they supported Jackson's confirmation, compared to 72% of poll respondents who were interviewed after the hearings began.

"It is an interesting and meaningful result given that some of the initial criticism before she was picked was, 'Why is Biden narrowing the field to just this demographic group?'" Charles Franklin, who directed the Marquette poll, told USA Today. "Our evidence, at least, is that it certainly looks like a little bit of a net positive."

The poll results match those of other recent polls, which indicated that Jackson is one of the most popular Supreme Court nominees in decades.

GOP senators started attacking Jackson's record as a judge and lawyer soon after Biden nominated her to the high court in February.

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham first criticized Biden for picking someone who attended Harvard Law School, objecting to the fact that eight of the nine current justices earned law degrees from Harvard and Yale — though he had himself voted to confirm six of them.

Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley began pushing widely debunked claims that "Judge Jackson has a pattern of letting child porn offenders off the hook for their appalling crimes, both as a judge and as a policymaker" and that she showed an "alarming trend of lenient sentencing." As Missouri's attorney general, Hawley had agreed to a plea deal in at least one sex crime case that allowed a sheriff to avoid any jail time.

Republicans then used the very same "embarrassing antics" at Jackson's confirmation hearings to try to undermine her nomination that they had previously decried and vowed not to use.

Specifically complaining that Jackson — like GOP nominees before her — refused to weigh in on policy questions that are up to Congress, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said last Thursday that he "cannot and will not support Judge Jackson for a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court."

Minority Whip John Thune, Republican Conference Chair John Barrasso, Kansas Sen. Roger Marshall, Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse, and Mississippi Sen. Roger Wicker have also announced their intention to vote no.

So far, only one Republican, Maine Sen. Susan Collins, has indicated her support for Jackson.

Thune (R-SD) told the Hill on Wednesday that he does not expect Jackson to get more than one or two more GOP votes. "I think the universe of votes that she could get in the Senate among Republicans is probably similar to what happened in the appeals court," he said, referencing the three Republican votes she received in June 2021.

The Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to vote next Monday to advance Jackson's nomination to the full Senate.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.