SCOTUS nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson receives split vote from Senate Judiciary Committee

The Judiciary Committee voted 11-11 on recommending Jackson for the Supreme Court. Ranking Member and Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, voted against recommending her because of what he called differences in judicial philosophy.


Gabby Drees

The United States Supreme Court Building is seen on Sunday, April 3, 2022.

Natalie Dunlap and Caleb McCullough

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee reached a deadlock in the move to recommend Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson for nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court, with the committee split along party lines Monday. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, joined Republicans in voting against recommending Jackson.

The vote, which was 11-11, was taken after senators on the committee gave their opening statements on Monday. While the tie means the committee won’t formally recommend her for confirmation, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York has already moved to discharge her from the committee. The discharge begins the process to bring Jackson’s confirmation before the full Senate, which will likely happen by the end of the week. 

During Monday’s committee meetings, Democrats praised Jackson’s accomplishments and qualifications while Republicans criticized her for not endorsing a specific judicial philosophy and their perception that she has been soft on crime and lenient toward sentencing.

Grassley, the committee’s ranking member, said in his opening comments Monday morning that he would not be supporting Jackson, due to what he called fundamentally different judicial philosophies. As previously reported by The Daily Iowan, he also said there was a lack of information available to the panel, and, continuing a common Republican talking point from the confirmation hearings, he took issue with her approach to sentencing, which he said was too lenient. 

“Having carefully studied her record, unfortunately I think she and I have fundamentally different views on the role of judges,” he said. “… because of those disagreements, I can’t support her nomination.” 

RELATED: Sen. Chuck Grassley will not support Ketanji Brown Jackson’s nomination to the Supreme Court

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., the committee’s chair, praised Jackson’s high qualifications, saying not even the Republicans on the committee questioned her level of experience. He also pushed back on the doubts raised about Jackson’s methodology.

“Her methodology is one that promotes fairness, independence, and judicial restraint,” he said Monday. “It’s reflected in her decision making.”

Democrats also commented on the historic nature of Jackson’s nomination. If confirmed, she would be the first Black woman to sit on the high court. 

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., said Jackson will be a judge who will “make every little girl and boy in America to realize anything and everything is possible.” Jackson is President Joe Biden’s first Supreme Court nominee. She is set to replace Justice Stephen Breyer, who plans to retire. Jackson previously served as a law clerk for Breyer and currently serves as a judge on Washington, D.C.’s federal appellate court.