Mary Claire Jalonik, BECKY BARRER and KEVIN FRACKING

WASHINGTON (AP) – Republican Senators Lisa Murkowski and Mitt Romney announced Monday night that they will vote to confirm the historic assignment of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court, giving Presidential candidate Joe Biden a bipartisan support. black female justice.

Senators from Alaska and Utah announced their decisions ahead of a procedural vote to nominate candidates and while Democrats insisted on Jackson’s confirmation by the end of the week. Last week, Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine announced she would support Jackson.

All three Republicans said they did not expect to agree with all of Jackson’s decisions, but considered her well-qualified. Romney said she “more than meets the standards of excellence and honesty.”

With three Republicans supporting her in a 50- to 50-senate senate, Jackson is on the verge of confirmation and is on the verge of going down in history as the third black judge and only sixth woman in the court’s more than 200-year history. In addition to the historical element, Democrats cite her in-depth experience over nine years on the Federal Reserve bench and the chance for her to become the first former public defender in court.

Both Collins and Murkowski said they believe the Senate nomination process has been disrupted as it has become more partisan in the past few decades.

Murkowski said that her decision was based in part on “my rejection of the corrosive politicization of the process of considering candidates for the Supreme Court, which on both sides of the passage is getting worse over the years and increasingly detached from reality.”

Biden has nominated Jackson to replace retired Judge Stephen Breyer. Biden sought bipartisan support for his election by repeatedly calling senators and inviting Republicans to the White House.

On Monday night, the Senate voted 53-47 to “exclude” Jackson’s candidacy from the Senate Judiciary Committee after the panel came to a standstill, 11-11, on whether to nominate a candidate to the Senate.

Voting in the party-divided committee was the first dead end in the nomination of candidates to the Supreme Court in three decades.

“Judge Jackson will bring to the Supreme Court extraordinary qualifications, deep experience and intelligence, as well as rigorous judicial experience,” Biden tweeted earlier Monday. “She deserves to be confirmed as the next judge.”

Iowa Senior Republican Judge Chuck Grasley has said he opposes Jackson’s nomination because “she and I have fundamentally different views on the role of judges and the role they should play in our system of government.”

The committee has not been deadlocked since 1991, when Biden chaired it, and the motion to nominate current Judge Clarence Thomas with a “favorable” recommendation failed by 7-7 votes. The committee then voted to nominate the candidate without a recommendation, meaning it could still be put to a vote.

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky set the tone for most of his party last week when he said he “cannot and will not” support Jackson, citing Republican concerns expressed at the sentencing hearing and his support. by liberal propaganda groups.

Republicans at the Judicial Board on Monday continued to insist on drawing Jackson soft to crime, defending her repeated questions about her convictions for sex crimes.

“The issues are not attacks,” said Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, one of several Republican senators who made the point at a hearing two weeks ago.

Jackson declined to comment from the Republican Party, saying “nothing could be further from the truth.” Democrats said she was in line with other judges in her decisions. And on Monday, they criticized the interrogation of their colleagues from the Republican Party.

“You can try to create a straw man here, but it doesn’t hold up,” said New Jersey Sen. Corey Booker.

The interrogation was filled with “absurd disrespect,” said Booker, who is also Black, and said he would “rejoice” if confirmed.

Derrick Johnson, president and CEO of NAACP, expressed disappointment with the draw, even though he noted that Jackson had overcome an important hurdle. He said “history will follow” during a full Senate vote later this week.

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Associated Press writers Zick Miller, Farnush Amira and Lisa Mascara of Washington and Becky Borer in Alaska have contributed.

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