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Loretta Lynch, former DOJ officials urge Jackson confirmation to Supreme Court

Biden’s nominee gets a boost from about five dozen former Justice lawyers in a letter to the top Democrat and Republican on the Judiciary Committee.
U.S. Supreme Court nominee and federal appeals court Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson meets with Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., in his office on Capitol Hill on March 10, 2022.
Federal appeals Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, President Joe Biden's Supreme Court nominee, meets with Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., in his office Thursday on Capitol Hill.Evelyn Hockstein / Reuters

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson got an endorsement for her Supreme Court nomination from 59 former Justice Department officials, including former Attorney General Loretta Lynch and former acting Attorney General Sally Yates.

The letter to Senate leaders says the signers “urge the confirmation” of President Joe Biden’s nominee.

The letter — dated March 9 and sent to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and ranking member Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa — represents the growing body of officials, predominantly from past Democratic administrations, who are backing Jackson.

The officials say Jackson, a judge on the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for Washington, D.C., has “extraordinary” academic credentials and is “well-steeped in the law.” They argue that she would “emulate” the “principled pragmatism” of Justice Stephen Breyer, whom she has been chosen to replace.

Jackson has made the rounds on Capitol Hill to speak with senators. She met this week with Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Susan Collins, R-Maine, two centrists whose votes on her nomination are pivotal.

“She’s a very accomplished person,” Manchin said Thursday, a day after he met with Jackson for more than an hour, adding that he is still vetting her but hasn’t seen red flags.

“She’s had over 500 opinions. We looked at all of those and a wide range of things. And the thing that I was most impressed, I didn’t see her trying to interpret the laws we create. That’s pretty important,” he said.

Collins said her meeting with Jackson on Tuesday “went well.”

“It’s clear that her credentials and the breadth of her experience are impressive. She has been a law clerk, a public defender, an attorney in private practice, a member of the Sentencing Commission, a district court judge for more than eight years. And now a circuit court judge,” she told reporters afterward. “I will, of course, await the hearings before the Judiciary Committee before making a decision, but I found today’s session to be very helpful.”

Jackson's hearings are set to begin March 21. She needs the support of 50 senators to be confirmed. Democrats control the 50-50 Senate with the vice president's tiebreaking vote.