Sen. Lisa Murkowski on Sunday encouraged President Joe Biden to choose a Supreme Court nominee who could receive broad bipartisan support and not pick the one that would be “to the furthest left.”
During a joint appearance with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) on CNN’s State of the Union, the Alaska Republican said that a significant bipartisan vote on Biden’s Supreme Court pick would send a message to those Americans who see the courts as increasingly politicized.
“I want to make sure that the president nominates an exceptional candidate, an exceptional individual, and I would be honored to be able to support an exceptional African American woman,” Murkowski said.
Murkowski’s remarks are a contrast to those of her fellow GOP Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Roger Wicker of Mississippi, who have criticized Biden’s pledge to nominate an African American woman to the high court. Wicker recently likened Biden’s promise to affirmative action. Democrats are quick to note that other presidents, including former President Ronald Reagan, previously pledged to nominate women to the Supreme Court.
Murkowski is widely viewed as one of the most likely Republican senators to support Biden’s pick. She has backed 79 percent of Biden’s judicial nominees this Congress and voted last year to confirm Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. Jackson is viewed as a frontrunner for the Supreme Court seat.
Democrats can confirm whoever Biden picks without GOP support, as long as all 50 Democrats are present and support the nominee. Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) have yet to break with the president on a single judicial nominee. During his CNN appearance Sunday, Manchin said that all of the potential candidates mentioned thus far are “extremely qualified” and predicted whoever Biden picks “will get a majority of votes, it’ll get 60 or more.”
While Democrats can confirm the nominee along party lines, Murkowski said that Biden should pick a nominee who can get more than just one Republican vote. So far this Congress, Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) has crossed party lines the most frequently to support Biden’s nominee, followed by Murkowski and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.).
“It goes back to his words at the prayer breakfast. How are we going to unify? What is it that we need to do?,” Murkowski said Sunday. Picking an individual who can get broad bipartisan support “sends a signal to the public that maybe, maybe the courts are not as political as the legislative and the executive branch.”
Read more: politico.com