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What to watch before Ketanji Brown Jackson confirms

WASHINGTON — Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson’s confirmation as the first black woman on the Supreme Court was secured Monday, when Republican Senators Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Mitt Romney of Utah joined fellow Senator Susan Collins of Maine to pledge their support. Their support gave Justice Jackson’s 50 Democratic supporters a voting cushion and bipartisan bragging rights.

But on Thursday, the Senate still has to take two critical steps to confirm it: a vote to cut the debate and a last roll call on its confirmation. the the first vote is scheduled for 11 a.m.and the the second is expected around 1:45 p.m.according to Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York and Majority Leader.

“It will be a joyful day,” Mr. Schumer said Wednesday evening as he announced an agreement to complete confirmation on Thursday.

The first step is for senators to agree to limit the debate on the appointment of the judge. In the past, this would have required 60 votes, as is still the case with most laws. But Republicans changed the rules for Supreme Court nominees in 2017 to overcome a Democratic filibuster in Justice Neil M. Gorsuch, President Donald J. Trump’s pick, so now a simple majority will do.

Under the agreement, senators who wish to continue debating Judge Jackson’s nomination will have only a few hours to do so. Mr Schumer said it was not clear how many people wanted to speak in the Senate to one last speech.

Although the result seems certain, it will be time for the hardest critics of Judge Jackson to launch a last assault to try to influence their colleagues and show that they fought until the end. His supporters will want to refute what they see as an unfair and deliberately distorted attack on his record and experience. As the majority party, Democrats have the last word if they want.

The position of the senators is hardly in doubt. Almost all have formally announced their positions, and the Senate voted late Monday to force the deadlocked Judiciary Committee nomination, with all 50 Democrats and three Republicans backing the move. Unless something important happens, this count of 53 to 47 is likely to be the final vote on confirmation.

The confirmation vote will conclude a suspenseful and contentious process that began in late February, when Justice Stephen G. Breyer announced he would retire in early summer. His decision sparked a guessing game over who would replace him and whether Mr Biden’s nominee could unite Democrats and win over some Republicans. These questions have been answered; now only the final votes await.


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