Hearings on federal appellate Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, President Joe Biden’s pick to become the first Black woman to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court, will begin on March 21, the Senate Judiciary Committee chair said on Wednesday.
Senator Dick Durbin revealed the timeline hours after Jackson arrived on Capitol Hill to visit with various senior Senate leaders of both parties, as lawmakers from both parties mulled her candidacy for the lifetime post.
The hearings will run until March 24 and include testimony from the American Bar Association and other outside witnesses, Durbin’s statement said, as well as a standard closed session where the committee will discuss any matters relating to Jackson’s background check by the FBI.
“The Committee will undertake a fair and timely process to consider Judge Jackson’s nomination,” Durbin said in a public letter to his Senate colleagues. “I look forward to Judge Jackson’s appearance before the Committee and to respectful and dignified hearings.”
Jackson, 51, who was picked to succeed retiring liberal Justice Stephen Breyer, began the formal task of seeking Senate confirmation during high-profile meetings on Wednesday morning with the chamber’s two top lawmakers: Democrat Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Schumer met with Jackson for about 40 minutes in an ornate Senate dining room and offered reporters wall-to-wall praise for qualifications and breadth of experience that he said should draw support from Democrats and Republicans alike.
“She deserves support from the other side of the aisle, and I am hopeful that a good number of Republicans will vote for her, given who she is. And when they meet her, they will just be loud, as I was,” the New York Democrat said.
Democrats hope to confirm her before the Easter recess, which formally begins on April 11.
If confirmed, Jackson would join the liberal bloc on an increasingly assertive court that has a 6-3 conservative majority, including three justices appointed by Biden’s Republican predecessor, Donald Trump.
Jackson has served since last year on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit after eight years as a federal district judge in Washington and worked earlier as a Supreme Court clerk for Breyer. She would become the sixth woman to serve on a nine-member court that now has three female justices.
But McConnell, who met with her after Schumer, has raised questions about Jackson by claiming that she is supported by activists who want to add justices to the high court to undermine its conservative majority and by pointing to an appellate record that includes only two opinions so far.
“I am troubled by the combination of this slim appellate record and the intensity of Judge Jackson’s far-left, dark-money fan club,” the Kentucky Republican said in a floor speech on Tuesday.
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