Senate Committee Advances Barrett Nomination Over Dem Boycott
WASHINGTON — The Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday approved the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court, nearly guaranteeing she will be confirmed by a vote of the full Republican-controlled Senate.
“How could anybody in their right mind after listening to Judge Barrett not believe that she is just qualified, she is incredibly qualified,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Democrats on the committee disagreed. In fact, they boycotted the vote Thursday, meaning she was approved by all 12 Republicans on the committee but all 10 Democrats boycotted the meeting.
“They started this, not me,” Graham said.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., scheduled a full Senate vote Monday on whether to confirm Barrett to the Supreme Court.
The final vote is scheduled only days before the Nov. 3 presidential election, which drew resentment from Democrats.
They said the appointment of a replacement for Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg should wait until after the election.
Their main objections during the nomination hearing included Barrett’s opposition to abortion rights and the Affordable Care Act for nearly universal health care insurance.
President Donald Trump also opposes abortion and the Affordable Care Act, which contributed to his reasons for nominating Barrett.
Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee continued their praise of Barrett and criticism of Democrats after deciding to send her nomination to a full vote for confirmation.
“This is a major victory for the American people,” said Sen. Ted Cruz, a Texas Republican.
Popular opinion polls were more timid on whether they believe Barrett’s appointment so close to the election is a good idea. A Politico/Morning Consult poll released this week found that only 51 percent of voters agree she was properly nominated before the election.
Barrett’s presence on the Supreme Court would mean Trump appointed three justices, giving conservatives a solid 6-to-3 majority likely to last for decades.
The conservatives are expected to shift the Supreme Court’s interpretations in upcoming cases on the Affordable Care Act, gun rights, religious freedom and the pivotal abortion case of Roe v. Wade.
Part of Republicans’ criticism during the Senate Judiciary Committee meeting Thursday focused on Democrats’ suggestions of expanding the size of the Supreme Court, perhaps to 13 members.
The current Supreme Court consists of nine justices.
The Republicans described the idea as court-packing intended to circumvent the conservative majority.
Democratic presidential frontrunner Joe Biden said recently he favors judicial reform but stopped short of saying he wants to expand the number of Supreme Court justices.
In an interview on CBS’ 60 Minutes, Biden said that if he is elected president he would “put together a national commission — a bipartisan commission” on judicial reform.