California Dem’s flight delays Ketanji Brown Jackson vote

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California Democratic Sen. Alex Padilla’s Sunday night flight to DC was forced to turn around due to a medical emergency onboard — forcing the Senate Judiciary Committee to delay its Monday vote on Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson.

The Democrat’s unplanned absence meant that Jackson’s nomination could not be considered by the committee as planned early Monday afternoon. The panel’s 22 members are evenly divided by party and all 11 Republicans are expected to oppose Jackson.

“We have a problem and it could have happened to any one of us,” said committee chairman Dick Durbin (D-Ill.). “One of our colleagues, Sen. Padilla, got on the overnight special out of Los Angeles last night. It took off and a medical emergency on the airplane forced them back to Los Angeles.”

Durbin added that Padilla “was stranded and unable to return until this morning. It’s my understanding that he’s going to be on a flight that will return this afternoon. So we will have a chance to assemble with his presence.”

The unusual open-ended recess was an embarrassing road bump in the hearings, and leaves Senate Democrats with less time to fulfill their stated goal of confirming Jackson before breaking for the Easter recess at the end of this week.

Senate Judiciary Committee.
The Senate Judiciary Committee has 22 members that are evenly divided by party.
Win McNamee/Getty Images
Ketanji Brown Jackson meets with Sen. Alex Padilla.
Sen. Alex Padilla’s absence meant that Ketanji Brown Jackson’s nomination could not be considered by the committee as planned early Monday afternoon.
Evan Vucci/AP
Committee.
All 11 committee Republicans are expected to oppose Ketanji Brown Jackson’s nomination.
Shawn Thew/EPA

Durbin said Padilla “thought he’d done everything right — he put his whole family on the plane last night.”

“I know it troubles him and pains him not to be here,” he added.

Padilla spent six years as California’s secretary of state before being appointed last year by Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom to fill the vacancy created when Kamala Harris took office as vice president.

Ketanji Brown Jackson.
Republicans have expressed concern about Ketanji Brown Jackson’s judicial philosophy and her approach toward criminal sentencing.
Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images
Supreme Court nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson looks to her husband Patrick Jackson and daughter Leila Jackson.
Democrats have praised Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson for her temperament in handling GOP criticism during her hearing.
Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Ahead of the committee vote, Republicans took turns expressing concern about Jackson’s judicial philosophy and her approach toward criminal sentencing, including in child porn cases, and noted a late-breaking controversy about a rapist who received a light sentence for failing to register as a sex offender before reoffending.

By contrast, Democrats praised Jackson, including for her temperament in handling GOP criticism during more than 20 hours of questioning.

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