For nearly a full minute, Democratic senators and people sitting in the Senate balcony stood up and cheered for Ketanji Brown Jackson’s historic confirmation to the Supreme Court on Thursday.
But as the camera panned around the room, there was a lone Republican senator standing there clapping, too: Mitt Romney of Utah.
Romney was one of three GOP senators who had voted moments earlier to confirm Jackson, along with Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Susan Collins (Maine). He appeared to be the only Republican, though, who made a point to stay behind and celebrate Jackson’s confirmation.
Here’s a clip of Romney standing by himself amid rows of empty seats on the Republican side of the Senate chamber. He clapped along with the Senate aides lined up against the wall behind him as GOP lawmakers including Ted Cruz (Texas) and Mike Lee (Utah) hurried out of the room.
Romney’s support for Jackson was a surprise. In June, unlike Murkowski and Collins, he voted against confirming her to her seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.
The Utah senator told reporters Tuesday that he decided to vote for Jackson this time because the more he got to know about her, the more he came to believe she would be a solid, fair-minded justice.
“In her previous confirmation vote, I had concerns about whether or not she was in the mainstream,” Romney said. “And having spent time with her personally and reviewing her testimony before Congress, [I] became convinced that she is in the mainstream.”