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North Dakota senators to vote 'no' on Ketanji Brown Jackson for Supreme Court

Republican Senators John Hoeven and Kevin Cramer both said they plan to oppose Jackson's confirmation. The Biden nominee has drawn the support of three other GOP members and is expected to win enough support in the Senate to become the country's first Black woman Supreme Court justice.

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Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., meets with Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, who is expected to become the first Black woman to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court following a final Senate vote later this week.
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BISMARCK — Both of North Dakota's senators will vote against the confirmation of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the U.S. Supreme Court, they said in separate statements this week.

The nominee of President Joe Biden, Jackson is expected to become the first Black woman to sit on the Supreme Court following a final vote in the U.S. Senate, which is narrowly controlled by Democrats and where a handful of GOP members have said they will back her confirmation.

But while Jackson's nomination has drawn some bipartisan support, North Dakota Republican Sens. Kevin Cramer and John Hoeven both signaled their plans to oppose her high court bid.

In a statement Sunday, April 3, Cramer called Jackson's nomination "historic" but said he could not support her because of fundamental differences in their views on how to make decisions from the bench.

"She's more than intellectually academically and experientially qualified, but I worry her judicial philosophy is far to the left of anyone else on the court," he said.

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Hoeven released a statement following a meeting with Jackson Tuesday saying that he also plans to oppose her confirmation when the Senate takes final votes later this week. The second-term senator said he is concerned that Jackson "will engage in judicial activism" rather than strictly upholding the law and Constitution.

Jackson is widely expected to draw enough support in the 50-50 Senate to be confirmed to the Supreme Court. Though high court confirmations have grown highly partisan in recent years, three Republicans have signaled their plans to break ranks with their GOP colleagues on Jackson's confirmation. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said last week that she plans to vote for Jackson, and Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah and Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska followed suit on Monday.

Cramer, who met with Jackson following her confirmation hearings last week, cited Jackson's deference to the authority of the federal government and a record of light criminal sentences as his chief concerns with her nomination. He also echoed the criticisms of some other Republicans on the severity of Jackson's sentences in several child pornography cases.

Hoeven similarly pointed to Jackson's sentencing record and her "treatment of terrorists at Guantanamo as criminals rather than prisoners of war" as reasons for his opposition. As a public defender more than a decade ago, Jackson was assigned legal representation for four men at Guantanamo Bay, the military prison that the U.S. opened after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. None was ever tried or charged, according to the Associated Press .

A final vote on Jackson's confirmation is expected to take place late this week on the Senate floor.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Adam Willis, a Report for America corps member, at awillis@forumcomm.com.

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