Democrats set Judge Jackson's confirmation hearings for March 21

President Biden's Supreme Court pick began meeting senators Wednesday.

March 2, 2022, 6:07 PM

President Joe Biden's pick for the Supreme Court, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, began traditional courtesy calls with senators on Wednesday as Democrats announced her confirmation battle would get underway later this month.

The hearings will start on Monday, March 21 and conclude on Thursday March 24, setting Jackson on the path to what Democrats hope will be a speedy final confirmation vote, Senate Judiciary Chairman Dick Durbin said Wednesday.

"There's no reason to wait or delay, as far as I'm concerned," Durbin, D-Ill., said, setting the goal to get Jackson confirmed by the full Senate by its Easter recess starting April 8.

PHOTO: Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer meets with Supreme Court Nominee, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, on Capitol Hill, on March 2, 2022, in Washington, D.C.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer meets with Supreme Court Nominee, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, on Capitol Hill, on March 2, 2022, in Washington, D.C.
Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Shutterstock

Biden announced Friday he would nominate Jackson to fill the seat of retiring Justice Stephen Breyer. Jackson, a Harvard law graduate, was confirmed to the Court of Appeals for the D.C Circuit in a bipartisan vote last June, but faces a tougher confirmation battle for her spot on the high court. If confirmed, she will be the first Black woman to sit on the Supreme Court.

Jackson began her day on Capitol Hill with a 40-minute meeting with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

Before their meeting, Schumer, D-N.Y., said he looked forward to "hashing out all the great things that we read about and are seeing" about Jackson.

PHOTO: Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, President Biden's nominee for Associate Justice to the Supreme Court, meets with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer at the U.S. Capitol on March 2, 2022, in Washington, D.C.
Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, President Biden's nominee for Associate Justice to the Supreme Court, meets with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer at the U.S. Capitol on March 2, 2022, in Washington, D.C.
Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call via Newscom

Following their closed-door discussion, he praised what he said were Jackson's family values, empathy and ability to see things from both sides.

"I think she deserves support from the other side of the aisle, and I am hopeful that a good number of Republicans will support her, given who she is," he said.

A few hours after their meeting, Schumer started Wednesday's Senate session with even more praise.

"Now that I've met her, I'll add another word: Belongs. She's not only brilliant and beloved, but belongs on the Supreme Court," Schumer said. "America will be better off -- much better off -- with someone like Judge Jackson on the Supreme Court."

PHOTO: Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson walks with former Senator Doug Jones of Alabama to a meeting with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., on Capitol Hill, March 2, 2022, in Washington, D.C.
Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson walks with former Senator Doug Jones of Alabama to a meeting with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., on Capitol Hill, March 2, 2022, in Washington, D.C.
Evan Vucci/AP

Former Alabama Democratic Sen. Doug Jones, designated by the White House to help shepherd Jackson's nomination across the finish line, escorted her to a similar meeting with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, before taking her to spend time with Durbin.

PHOTO: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell shakes hands with Supreme Court Nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson in McConnell's office at the U.S. Capitol, on March 2, 2022, in Washington, D.C.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell shakes hands with Supreme Court Nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson in McConnell's office at the U.S. Capitol, on March 2, 2022, in Washington, D.C.
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Speaking to reporters afterward, Durbin said he expects Judge Jackson will garner bipartisan support, saying he is hoping to have at least a handful of GOP senators vote to confirm her.

"I think it would be good for the Senate, good for the Supreme Court if that happens," Durbin said, adding he wants the process to be fair.

In the evenly divided Senate, Democrats can confirm Jackson to the court without any Republican support. But that's not how Durbin and other Democratic leaders hope it will go. While three Senate Republicans voted to confirm Jackson to the federal appeals court, several have said their previous votes will not determine how they vote on Jackson.

The top Republican on the Judiciary Committee, Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, echoed Durbin's sentiment after his conversation with Judge Jackson. The two talked for just under 10 minutes.

PHOTO: Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson meets with Sen. Dick Durbin, right, on Capitol Hill in Washington, March 2, 2022.
Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson meets with Sen. Dick Durbin, right, on Capitol Hill in Washington, March 2, 2022.
Susan Walsh/AP

He told reporters it is his responsibility to make sure the Senate has a fair and dignified process.

"We're going to meet our constitutional responsibility of advice and consent with dignity and fairness and most importantly, thoroughness. Everybody expects us to do our job," Grassley said.

PHOTO: Ketanji Brown Jackson, nominee to be U.S. Circuit Judge for the District of Columbia Circuit, greets Sen. Chuck Grassley before her Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing in Washington, D.C., April 28, 2021.
Ketanji Brown Jackson, nominee to be U.S. Circuit Judge for the District of Columbia Circuit, greets Sen. Chuck Grassley before her Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing in Washington, D.C., April 28, 2021.
Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images, FILE

When asked how her conversation with Grassley went, Judge Jackson replied, "Good, thanks."

ABC's Allison Pecorin and Trish Turner contributed to this report.

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