Republicans Vote to Advance Amy Coney Barrett's Supreme Court Nomination as Democrats Boycott
Republicans in the Senate Judiciary Committee have unanimously voted to advance Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court — a move which was protested by Democrats who argue the process should not proceed before voters can weigh in during the presidential election early next month.
Republicans voted on Thursday to advance Barrett’s nomination 12-0, while all 10 Democrats on the committee boycotted by not attending the vote.
In a nod to one case that the Supreme Court will soon hear, Democrats filled their seats with cutouts of people who rely on the Affordable Care Act.
If appointed, Barrett, 48, could likely give the court a conservative majority, setting the stage for potentially landmark decisions, including the Affordable Care Act, which President Donald Trump has long pushed to dismantle.
“This has been a sham process from the beginning,” committee Democrats wrote in a statement released on Wednesday, as they explained why they would be boycotting the vote.
“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,” the statement continued. “We will not grant this process any further legitimacy by participating in a committee markup of this nomination just twelve days before the culmination of an election that is already underway."
Republicans have lauded Barrett's credentials and legal background in addition to her personal story.
They say it would be unfair to assume how she might rule given her past and she steadfastly declined to weigh in on future cases during her confirmation hearings, citing a longstanding practice by other nominees.
After learning of the boycott, Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham — who began pushing to fill the empty court seat just hours after Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death — said in a statement, “Judge Barrett deserves a vote and she will receive a vote.”
“As to my Democratic colleagues’ refusal to attend the markup, that is a choice they are making,” he added.
A final vote is scheduled for Monday in the Senate, where Republicans have a 53-47 majority and where Barrett's confirmation is widely expected.
Democratic lawmakers have called their Republican colleagues hypocritical for moving to quickly fill the Supreme Court vacancy while Trump is still in office — after previously blocking President Barack Obama’s nominee Merrick Garland in 2016, saying that nomination came too close to the election.
Liberals have also raised concerns about Barrett's vague answers during her Senate confirmation hearings, specifically in regards to abortion and gay marriage.