Judiciary Panel Advances Barrett Nomination Over Dem Boycott

October 22, 2020 by Dan McCue
U.S. Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett testifies during the second day of her confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill on Capitol Hill in Washington on October 13, 2020. (Yuri Gripas/Abaca Press/TNS)

WASHINGTON – The GOP-led Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday voted to advance the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the full Senate, despite a Democratic boycott on the hearing.

The 12-0 vote by the committee virtually assures Barrett will be confirmed to the high court early next week, barring some unforeseen circumstance. Senators plan to convene a rare weekend session ahead of a final confirmation vote expected Monday.

The committee vote advanced President Donald Trump’s goal of having Barrett confirmed before Election Day in case the justices need to weigh in on the election results, as they did in 2000.

Last week, the absence of a tiebreaker on the Supreme Court let stand a ruling by Pennsylvania’s highest court allowing election officials in Pennsylvania to count some mailed ballots received up to three days after Election Day.

On Thursday morning, Democratic senators refused to show up at the Judiciary Committee hearing in protest of the GOP’s rush to install Trump’s nominee to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Instead of attending, the Democrats displayed posters at their desks of Americans they say have benefited from the Affordable Care Act now being challenged in court.

“We should not be moving forward on this nomination,” Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said Wednesday in announcing the boycott. He called Barrett’s views “so far out of the mainstream.”

Never has the Senate confirmed a Supreme Court nominee so close to a presidential election.

After the Republicans voted unanimously in favor of Barrett, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., the panel’s chairman declared the majority’s action “a groundbreaking, historic moment.”

“We did it. We did it. Judge Barrett is going to the floor,” he added.

The 48-year-old federal judge’s ascent to the high court would lock a 6-3 conservative majority on the court for the foreseeable future.

Outside the Supreme Court on Thursday protestors denounced the committee’s vote.

With Republicans holding a 53-47 majority in the Senate, Trump’s pick for the court is almost certain to be confirmed. All Democrats are expected to oppose Barrett’s confirmation.

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