Good on Susan Collins for Doing the Bare Minimum

Her announcement today likely ensures that Ketanji Brown Jackson will be confirmed with bipartisan support.

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, President Biden's nominee for Associate Justice to the Supreme Court, meets with Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, in her office on Tuesday, March 8, 2022.Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call/ZUMA

Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) announced today that she’ll vote to confirm Ketanji Brown Jackson as a Supreme Court justice, becoming the first Republican to do so and securing a victory for Joe Biden, who can now brag that his court pick garnered support from across the aisle. 

Collins’s statement, along with a similar commitment from Sen. Joe Manchin, all but guarantees that Jackson will ascend to the court and likely means that Vice President Kamala Harris will not have to cast a tie-breaking vote. 

The Democrats have been trying to get a Republican in their corner to create the appearance of a bipartisan confirmation for awhile, with a particular eye to Collins and her fellow moderates Lisa Murkowski and Mitt Romney. Along with Lindsay Graham (now a probable no-vote), Murkowski and Collins were the only Republicans to support Jackson’s appointment to the appeals court, and Romney has signaled that he’ll keep an open mind about her nomination. 

In an interview with the New York Times explaining her decision, Collins bemoaned the way that the confirmation process has become politicized. 

“In my view, the role under the Constitution assigned to the Senate is to look at the credentials, experience and qualifications of the nominee,” she said. “It is not to assess whether a nominee reflects the individual ideology of a senator or would vote exactly as an individual senator would want.”

The statement was in line with Collins’ broader efforts to cast herself as one of the “reasonable” conservatives. Over her quarter-century tenure in the Senate, she has tried to cultivate a brand as a Republican moderate coasting above petty partisan divides and willing to buck her party’s consensus. On certain issues, she has, in fact, gone against the GOP grain—voting to convict Donald Trump following his second impeachment, pushing for a doomed independent commission to investigate the January 6 Capitol riot, and opposing the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett. But in 2018, she traumatized Democrats by casting a crucial vote in support of Justice Brett Kavanaugh (albeit only after a great deal of handwringing to let everybody know that it was a tough decision). At the time, Collins, rather credulously, scoffed at warnings that Kavanaugh would help roll back reproductive rightsa possibility that now seems quite likely.

WE'RE TAKING A SHORT BREAK…

from the big banner at the top of our pages asking for the donations that make Mother Jones' nonprofit journalism possible. But we still have upwards of $300,000 to raise by June 30, whether we get there is going to come down to the wire, and we can't afford to come up short.

If you value the reporting you get from Mother Jones and you can right now, please join your fellow readers who pitch in from time to time to keep our democracy-advancing, justice-seeking journalism charging hard (and to help us avoid a real budget crunch as June 30 approaches and our fiscal year ends).

payment methods

WE'RE TAKING A SHORT BREAK…

from the big banner at the top of our pages asking for the donations that make Mother Jones' nonprofit journalism possible. But we still have upwards of $300,000 to raise by June 30, whether we get there is going to come down to the wire, and we can't afford to come up short.

If you value the reporting you get from Mother Jones and you can right now, please join your fellow readers who pitch in from time to time to keep our democracy-advancing, justice-seeking journalism charging hard (and to help us avoid a real budget crunch as June 30 approaches and our fiscal year ends).

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate