President Biden’s nominee to the Supreme Court, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, will almost certainly be confirmed by the Senate late next week, but for now she is still making the rounds and visiting individually with senators. She met with Oklahoma’s two Republican senators Thursday.
There was no expectation that either Senator Jim Inhofe or Senator James Lankford would vote in favor of Judge Jackson’s nomination, and indeed both men confirmed Thursday they will be ‘no’ votes, despite having very positive things to say about her as a person.
“You have to admit, she’s one of the most delightful people,” said Sen. Inhofe moments after concluding his meeting, “it was like talking to a member of the family…but I had to keep reminding myself, you know, it’s a serious thing, this is a lifetime judge and she’s very, very liberal.”
Sen. Inhofe says a big concern for him is seeing which groups have lined up solidly behind Jackson's nomination.
"Groups like Planned Parenthood are supporting her, and other groups," said Inhofe, "so I would say this, the extremist groups on the far left are supporting her."
Sen. Lankford says he tried to use his 30 minutes to ask Judge Jackson about issues that didn’t come up during last week’s confirmation hearing, like religious liberty, Tribal law, and delegation.
“That’s an important area of the law — how much can Congress give away to the executive branch, how much can the Court give away to the executive branch, what’s the role of the executive branch with regulations?” said Lankford, reiterating his line of questioning. “We have some differences of opinion on how far that can go, but it was good to be able to hear and she was able to be forthcoming with me on that.”
The first Black woman ever nominated to the high court, Judge Jackson would replace retiring liberal Justice Stephen Breyer, meaning her confirmation won't change the current ideological makeup of six conservatives and three liberals.
“It’s not about her as a person, she’s a very pleasant person to be able to interact with,” said Sen. Lankford moments after finishing his visit, “I think she’ll be thorough on the Court, but we do have some very different ways that we approach some of the law.”
It's those differences, Lankford says, that will keep him from voting in favor of confirmation.
"I can’t support her," Lankford stated, "based on what I saw in the hearing and some of the conversation we had today."
Sen. Inhofe feels the same way.
"I’m going to vote against her." he said.
The Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to approve the nomination on Monday and then the full Senate should do the same either next Thursday or Friday.