Collins was first among the Republicans to back Jackson.

Senator Susan Collins of Maine, always a closely watched Republican during Supreme Court confirmation debates, found herself in the spotlight again as the first member of her party to declare that she would vote to confirm Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson.

Despite deep opposition in the Republican ranks, Ms. Collins decided to support the nominee after two extended interviews to explore her views. One of those sessions was after a contentious round of Judiciary Committee hearings last month, in which Republicans attacked Judge Jackson with questions that portrayed her as a liberal activist who was soft on criminals, particularly child sexual abuse defendants.

Ms. Collins said the second face-to-face meeting with the judge proved crucial to resolving some concerns that had emerged as a result of the questioning.

When she announced her position, the senator said she was willing to be the sole Republican to break with the party as long as she was comfortable with her decision. But she was no doubt happy that Senators Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Mitt Romney of Utah decided to back Judge Jackson as well.

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