WATCH: Senate Judiciary Committee to advance Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett over Democratic boycott
UPDATE — The Senate Judiciary Committee has voted to send Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court to the full Senate.
Here’s a look at the Senate Judiciary’s vote that will send Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Court nomination to the full Senate.
— Colby Walker (@walk_colb) October 22, 2020
(CNN) — The Senate Judiciary Committee will vote on Thursday to advance the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, despite a boycott by Democratic senators. Republicans are confident that they can push forward the nominee, setting up her confirmation by early next week.
Democrats on the panel plan to fill their seats during the vote with pictures of people who rely upon the Affordable Care Act, drawing attention to an upcoming case before the Court on the 2010 health care law’s constitutionality.
“This has been a sham process from the beginning,” wrote Senate Democrats in a statement. “Amidst a global pandemic and ongoing election, Republicans are rushing to confirm a Supreme Court Justice to take away health care from millions and execute the extreme and deeply unpopular agenda that they’ve been unable to get through Congress.”
Barrett, 48, will give conservatives a 6-3 majority on the Supreme Court, influencing a range of issues that could come before it, including Americans’ personal privacy rights, campaign finance regulation, affirmative action in higher education, public aid for religious schools, environmental and labor regulations, the ACA and any potential disputes regarding the 2020 election. If Barrett is confirmed and serves as long as her predecessor, the late liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, she will sit on the court for nearly four decades.
Under Senate Judiciary Committee rules, nine members of the panel, including two members of the minority party, must be present “for the purpose of transacting business.”
But Republicans say Senate rule 26 supersedes the Judiciary Committee requirements. That rule says that “no measure or matter or recommendation shall be reported from any committee unless a majority of the committee were physically present.”
Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina, said the GOP is moving forward no matter what, setting up a Monday confirmation vote by the full Senate, amounting to one of the quickest confirmation proceedings in modern times by pushing the nomination through in just over a month. It comes despite the GOP’s refusal to move on President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee eight months before the 2016 elections.
Last week, the appellate court judge and former University of Notre Dame professor testified before the Judiciary Committee and repeatedly declined to preview how she would rule on specific cases, citing the precedent set by previous Supreme Court nominees. But she described the late conservative Justice Antonin Scalia, her former boss, as her “mentor,” and said she shared a similar textualist and originalist approach to interpreting the law.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has led the Republican strategy to transform the judiciary, confirming more than 200 nominees since President Donald Trump was inaugurated. In spring 2016, McConnell blocked Obama’s nominee for Scalia’s vacant seat, Judge Merrick Garland, arguing that since it was an election year, the country should elect a new president to pick the lifetime appointment.
But in 2020, another election year, the Senate has taken half the average time to consider Barrett’s nomination, pushing it forward even as millions of Americans had already started voting. McConnell has said that it would break with tradition for a Republican-controlled Senate to not confirm a Republican president’s nominee.
Last week, Republicans blocked a motion from Senate Democrats to indefinitely postpone the nomination proceedings, dismissing their charges of hypocrisy. McConnell said Republicans planned to confirm Barrett by the end of the month. “We have the votes,” he said.
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