Mitch McConnell has made his decision on Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson

Morgan Watkins
Louisville Courier Journal
Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson meets with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on March 2, 2022.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell announced Thursday he'll vote against Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson's historic nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court. 

Jackson, the first Black woman ever nominated to the nation's most powerful court, went through confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee this week. 

"I enjoyed meeting the nominee. I went into the Senate's process with an open mind. But after studying the nominee's record and watching her performance this week, I cannot and will not support Judge Jackson for a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court," he said. 

He criticized Jackson's refusal to publicly oppose the possibility of expanding the number of seats on the Supreme Court, saying: "I assumed this would be an easy softball for Judge Jackson, but it wasn't."

Among other concerns he raised Thursday, McConnell indicated Jackson has a relatively small track record of rulings for senators to study, particularly on constitutional matters, compared to former President Donald Trump's three Supreme Court appointees. He suggested that's important because "for decades, activist judges have hurt the country by trying to make policy from the bench."

"This has made judicial philosophy a key qualification that senators must consider," he said. "If the nominee had a paper trail on constitutional issues, perhaps it could reassure us. But she doesn’t. ...Judge Jackson has been on the D.C. Circuit for less than one year. She has published only two opinions."

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McConnell, who voted against confirming Jackson to her current role on the federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., previously called for an "exhaustive review" of Jackson, whom President Joe Biden nominated to fill Justice Stephen Breyer's seat on the court.

He offered a critical assessment of her recent judicial work before that Senate review began.

"Since then, I understand that she has published a total of two opinions, both in the last few weeks, and that one of her prior rulings was just reversed by a unanimous panel of her present colleagues on the D.C. Circuit," McConnell said last month. "I also understand Judge Jackson was the favored choice of far-left dark-money groups that have spent years attacking the legitimacy and structure of the Court itself."

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McConnell has played a pivotal role in reshaping the federal judiciary, including the Supreme Court, in recent years. 

His handling of Supreme Court vacancies in the presidential election years of 2016 and 2020 were especially controversial. He led the GOP's successful efforts to appoint three judges to the high court during former President Donald Trump's administration. 

Morgan Watkins is The Courier Journal's chief political reporter. Contact her at Follow her on Twitter: @morganwatkins26.