When former US Attorney for Vermont Christina Nolan of Westford announced her candidacy for US Senate on Feb. 22, she promised to be an independent Republican like Sen. Susan Collins, a liberal from Maine, which closely resembles Vermont in demographics, politics, and economic challenges.
Yesterday, Nolan removed any lingering doubt of her intent to mark her own path through the Vermont Republican Primary to the U.S. Senate. Without any prompting, she publicly announced her support for Biden Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown-Jackson, even as many sitting Republican senators are chastising the federal judge for reputedly ‘soft’ sentencing decisions and involvement with a pro-CRT private school.
Collins is viewed as the most likely ‘yes’ vote for Brown among Senate Republicans, based on comments made earlier this month.
“I have been impressed with Judge Jackson’s performance and support her confirmation to the United States Supreme Court. She has the required legal experience, temperament and clear understanding of the judicial branch’s role interpreting the law,” Nolan said in a March 28 campaign statement on Twitter.
“As a former prosecutor, I will always treat each judicial nominee with the respect they deserve, and vote for or against them based solely on their qualifications even if I may not agree with every decision they’ve ever made,” Nolan said. “Politics should play no role in the confirmation process, a lesson that politicians on both sides have sadly strayed from in recent years.
“March is Women’s History Month, and diversity is crucially important in all facets of public life. As a candidate to become Vermont’s first female senator, I believe Judge Jackson will bring much-needed diversity to the highest court in the land, and hope that she is confirmed swiftly.”
Congressman Peter Welch (D-VT), the only Democrat running for the U.S. Senate, immediately backed Brown-Jackson after her nomination. Vermont Daily Chronicle last night emailed Gerald Malloy, the other current candidate in the GOP primary for U.S. Senate, for a comment on Nolan’s announcement. Here’s his response:
“As a US Senator I would consider all nominations based on character and qualifications. For nominations as important as the lifetime Supreme Court appointment I would engage the nominee in person, and I would observe and participate in nomination hearings in person to the maximum extent possible, so I could form my own opinion, for Vermonters and our Country, as to the character and qualifications of the nominee.
“I have four children and am reminded of Dr. King’s quote ‘I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.’ I believe in those words of wisdom, and I do not think race or gender or diversity should be part of the discussion in choosing a Supreme Court Justice, or any nominee or candidate for that matter. Character and Qualifications.
“As I have not personally met Ketanji Brown Jackson I cannot commit to how I would vote for her as a US Senator. I have reviewed her qualifications and she does have substantial and impressive qualifications. As a US Senator, I would not make a decision on her character, and ability to serve fairly and objectively as a guardian and protector of the Constitution, before meeting her and observing hearings for myself.”
Nolan’s announcement drew a surprised response from a national media outlet.
“You don’t see this every day – a Republican Senate candidate calling for the confirmation of President Biden’s nominee to the Supreme Court,” Paul Steinhauser wrote yesterday for Fox News.