McConnell’s language is similar to comments made by others in his party about keeping the hearings respectful. Though the GOP had not previously signaled any choreographed approach to the confirmation hearings, the tides turned when Republicans started accusing Jackson of being soft on crime when it comes to sex-related offenses — which the White House has denied.
McConnell’s comments follow a one-on-one meeting he held with the nominee, during which he said he raised the question of whether she would support court-packing — or the idea of adding additional seats to the Supreme Court to up the influence of the party that controls the White House. The minority leader has indicated that this will be a key issue in the confirmation hearing, though former Sen. Doug Jones, the nominee’s guide for the process, has said Jackson told McConnell that adding seats would be a decision for Congress, not her.
Asked whether he was open to voting for the Biden nominee, McConnell said he was “willing to listen to the testimony,” adding that “that’s why we have hearings.”
Republicans have voiced a number of complaints about Jackson, with Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina referring to her as a “radical left” nominee, and the majority of Republicans are expected to oppose her confirmation.