Sen. Ernst plans to vote against Judge Jackson’s SCOTUS confirmation

Ernst’s vote aligns with Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and most other Senate Republicans.


Lauren Johnson

Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, speaks with Daily Iowan reporters at the Hart Senate Building in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, April 5, 2022.

Natalie Dunlap, Politics Editor

WASHINGTON – Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, will not support Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s nomination to the Supreme Court, the senator announced on Tuesday. 

Ernst said in a speech on the Senate floor that Jackson is a highly qualified attorney who showed grace under pressure in her confirmation process, but that she will has concerns with her nomination. 

“Perhaps my greatest issue with Judge Jackson is her lack of an adherence to a judicial philosophy,” Ernst said. “I have been very clear with Supreme Court nominee since I took office that I am looking to support a nominee that subscribes to originalism. Judge Jackson explained during the Senate Judiciary hearing that she abides by a judiciary, quote, methodology, instead of a philosophy.”

Ernst said this approach would provide too much flexibility for a justice to bend their thinking to achieve a desired outcome.

“We have enough politicians in the legislative branch, we don’t need any in the courts, especially the Supreme Court.”

Ernst also said said she is concerned Jackson will take an activist stance on issues like abortion.

Jackson is President Joe Biden’s first Supreme Court nominee. If confirmed, she would be the first Black woman to serve on the court. 

“I think it’s fantastic any time that we can see diversity,” Ernst told The Daily Iowan in an interview ahead of her announcement. “The important thing is that we make sure we have qualified people that are serving, so that also should be first and foremost when people are looking at the Supreme Court because it is such an important position.” 

Jackson 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. With a decade of experience in federal courts, she has served in trial court, private practice, and served on the U.S. Sentencing Commission.

Three Republican Senators, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, have announced plans to support Jackson’s confirmation. 

On Monday, Ranking Member of the Judiciary Committee, Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa voted against recommending Jackson to the Supreme Court, along with the rest of the Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee. 

“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.”

The Senate is expected to take a full vote on Jackson confirmation later this week.