U.S. Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, meets with Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson at his office in Washington. Credit: Courtesy of U.S. Sen. Angus King

U.S. Sen. Angus King announced Friday that he will support President Joe Biden’s nominee for the nation’s highest court.

King’s decision to back Ketanji Brown Jackson comes as her path to a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court is all but assured after she got the backing of Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins of Maine and Democratic U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia.

King, who met with Jackson at his Washington office on Thursday, said he was “impressed” by Jackson’s qualifications, temperament and legal acumen.

“I’m especially pleased that she will bring a much-needed new perspective as both the first Black woman and the first former public defender to be appointed to the Supreme Court. I am confident that Judge Jackson will carry on Justice Breyer’s legacy of thoughtful service on the bench, and look forward to seeing her confirmed to our nation’s highest court,” the Maine independent said Friday morning.

Collins became the first Republican to back Jackson for a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday, saying the judge “possesses the experience, qualifications, and integrity to serve as an Associate Justice on the Supreme Court.”

That followed Manchin’s announcement last Friday that he would vote to confirm Jackson, whom he described as “supremely qualified” for the lifetime post.

Jackson only needs a 51-vote majority to win her confirmation after Senate Republicans voted in 2017 to eliminate the rule requiring a supermajority to confirm Supreme Court nominees. With Democrats holding a slim majority in the chamber, her confirmation is unlikely to be scuttled.

But she does face a narrower road in the Senate Judiciary Committee, where the even partisan divide could end in a deadlock over whether to recommend her for the court after Republican U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said he will oppose her confirmation.

The final say, however, lies with the full Senate.