Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine said on Wednesday that she’ll vote to confirm Ketanji Brown Jackson for the U.S. Supreme Court — virtually assuring that she will become the first Black woman on the high court bench.

Collins is the first Republican senator to announce support for Jackson, President Joe Biden’s nominee to succeed Justice Stephen Breyer when he retires in June.

“After reviewing Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s extensive record, watching much of her hearing testimony, and meeting with her twice in person, I have concluded that she possesses the experience, qualifications, and integrity to serve as an Associate Justice on the Supreme Court,” she said, according to CNBC.

Collins emphasized that her support for Jackson is entirely based on her qualifications — not her politics.

“I have decided to support the confirmation of Judge Jackson to be a member of the Supreme Court,” Collins said after a meeting with Jackson on Tuesday, according to The New York Times. “In recent years, senators on both sides of the aisle have gotten away from what I perceive to be the appropriate process for evaluating judicial nominees.

“In my view, the role under the Constitution assigned to the Senate is to look at the credentials, experience and qualifications of the nominee. 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.”

Collins’ support virtually assures that Jackson will be confirmed. Last week, Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., a more conservative Senate Democrat who sometimes votes with Republicans, said that he will also vote to confirm Jackson for the high court.

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said on Wednesday that she will vote to confirm Jackson for the Supreme Court because she’s qualified for the role. File Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI

Jackson needs only to win a simple majority in the Senate, 51 votes, for confirmation.

Although Republican votes aren’t needed to confirm Jackson, Biden has said he hoped there would be some measure of bipartisan support for his nominee.

It’s possible that Jackson, a judge on the U.S. Circuit Court for the District of Columbia Circuit, will receive more Republican votes.

Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, also met with Jackson on Tuesday and said that he may wait until the day of the confirmation vote before he decides his position.

“Judge Jackson and I had a wide-ranging discussion about her experience and qualifications,” Romney said, according to The Hill. “Her dedication to public service and her family are obvious, and I enjoyed our meeting. I appreciate the time she spent answering my questions, which was helpful as I continue my review of her record and testimony.”

Most Republicans — including Sens. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina — have already said publicly that they won’t vote for Jackson.

Jackson testified at confirmation hearings last week before the Senate judiciary committee, and the committee is scheduled to vote on her nomination next Monday.

If the committee approves her nomination, which is expected, it will then go to the full Senate for a vote.

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