House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn on Sunday emphasized the importance of bipartisan support for the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson.
“This is beyond politics. This is about the country, our pursuit of a more perfect union, and this is demonstrative of another step in that pursuit,” Clyburn (D-S.C.) said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”
Jackson, President Joe Biden’s pick to replace Justice Stephen Breyer, would be, if confirmed, the first Black woman to serve on the nation’s highest court. She previously served as a judge on the U.S. District Court in Washington for eight years before being confirmed by the Senate last summer to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.
The historic choice delivers on one of Biden’s campaign promises — that he would nominate the first Black woman to the Supreme Court — which Clyburn had urged him to commit to in 2020.
Jackson’s nomination to the appeals court last summer was supported by all 50 Democratic senators and three Republican senators. It’s unclear if Jackson’s nomination will receive Republican support this time around — but she wouldn’t need any Republican votes if all 50 Democratic senators vote to confirm her; in the event of a 50-50 tie, there would be a tie-breaking vote from Vice President Kamala Harris.
Clyburn said on Sunday he hopes “all my Republican friends” look at Jackson’s confirmation in terms of a pursuit of a “more perfect union.”
“Let’s have a debate. Let’s talk to her about her rulings and about her philosophy. But in the final analysis, let’s have a strong bipartisan support to demonstrate that both parties are still in pursuit of perfection,” Clyburn said.
The congressman and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) had publicly voiced support for U.S. District Judge Michelle Childs, who is based in South Carolina.
One selling point for Childs was that she attended state schools, as opposed to Jackson and other contenders who attended elite universities. Eight current members of the court attended law school at either Harvard or Yale; the exception is Amy Coney Barrett (Notre Dame).
Clyburn said although Jackson — who attended Harvard — is a more “traditional” choice, she is still a “good choice” for the post, and her background as a public defender “adds a new perspective to the court.”
“In the final analysis, I think this is a good choice. It was a choice that brings onto the court a background and some experiences that nobody else on the court will have,” Clyburn said.