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Thom Tillis says Jackson is 'well qualified' for Supreme Court but won't vote for her

The North Carolina Republican issued a statement saying despite Ketanji Brown Jackson's qualifications, he wouldn't vote to confirm her to the Supreme Court.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Republican Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina said Wednesday that he will not vote to confirm judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court

Tillis issued a statement explaining his decision, explaining that despite being well qualified, he was concerned Jackson would take part in a "dark money court-packing scheme." Tillis said he was impressed with Jackson's knowledge, composure and character during her Supreme Court confirmation hearings.

"I still hold my initial concerns she may legislate from the bench instead of consistently following the Constitution as written," Tillis said. "I am also disappointed that she is reluctant to take a firm public stand against a liberal, dark money court-packing scheme that represents a fundamental threat to the independence of the federal judiciary, even though other justices like Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer have done so."

When Tillis references a "dark money court-packing scheme," he is hinting at an ongoing, two-party battle over Jackson's previous support from Demand Justice, a progressive organization that pushes for Supreme Court reform, including creating "short lists" of candidates that could be nominated for SCOTUS. The "court-packing" accusation also come from Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) back in 2020 when Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett was up for nomination, where he lamented conservative groups and their alleged connections to Supreme Court nominations.

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Tillis acknowledged that he believes Jackson will be confirmed to the Supreme Court without his vote. Earlier Wednesday, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine said she'd vote to confirm Jackson, giving Democrats an important Republican vote that all but assured her confirmation. 

Collins said in a statement Tuesday that she met with Jackson a second time after four days of hearings last week and decided that “she possesses the experience, qualifications, and integrity to serve as an Associate Justice on the Supreme Court.”

Collins was the most likely Republican to support Jackson, and she has a history of voting for Supreme Court nominees picked by presidents of both parties. The only nominee she's voted against since her election in the mid-1990s is Justice Amy Coney Barrett in 2020.

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