Murkowski urges Biden to pick Supreme Court nominee who could get broad bipartisan support

Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski is urging President Joe Biden to nominate someone to the Supreme Court who could be confirmed with broad bipartisan support.

“It goes back to (Biden’s) words at the prayer breakfast. How are we going to unify? What is it that we need to do? Well, one of the signals that he can send is putting forth a nominee for the Supreme Court that will — will gain a level of bipartisan support,” Murkowski told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union” Sunday during a rare bipartisan interview with Sen. Joe Manchin, a Democrat of West Virginia.

“And when I say a level, I think it has to be more than just one, because as much as that is, it does not necessarily mean that you have that broader support,” added Murkowski, who represents Alaska.

Biden’s nominee only needs 51 votes in the Senate to be confirmed. There are currently 48 Democrats and two independents who caucus with the party. Should the nominee fail to get support from at least one Republican, Vice President Kamala Harris can break the 50-50 tie.

Murkowski also said she supports Biden’s pledge to nominate a Black woman to replace Justice Stephen Breyer, the court’s senior liberal member who plans to retire at the end of this term.

“And so I want to make sure that the President nominates an exceptional candidate, an exceptional individual,” she said. “And I would be honored to be able to support an exceptional African American woman.”

Manchin, too, endorsed Biden’s historic pledge, telling Tapper: “I think basically the court should represent the makeup of our country. And it’s time for this, it’s time — absolutely time.”

The senator predicted that Biden’s eventual pick will get “60 or more” votes in the Senate.

CNN reported last month that while some Republicans may ultimately back Biden’s pick, a number of GOP Senate sources believe that it would only be a handful at most — underscoring the polarizing nature of the modern Supreme Court confirmation process after years of intense and viciously partisan battles.

Murkowski, a moderate Republican, was among several GOP senators who supported Ketanji Brown Jackson, the front-runner for Breyer’s seat, last summer when she was confirmed as a circuit court judge on the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, the second most important court in the country.

This story has been updated with additional details Sunday.

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