Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously votes on the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett
In a violation of committee rules, Senate Judiciary Republicans have voted to advance the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett, even though Democrats say they denied the committee a quorum by boycotting the vote. Chair Lindsey Graham explained the move on 'Fox & Friends,' saying, 'Under the committee rules, you need two members of the minority to conduct business, but they're intentionally denying us that participation. They're boycotting the committee. So what I will do as chairman, there will be a majority of the committee present. We will waive that rule. We will report Judge Barrett out. She will go to the floor.' There are some remaining procedural votes before the final floor vote, but they are seen as a formality. An up-or-down vote by the full Senate is expected on Monday.
In her hearings last week, Barrett frequently evaded questions and refused to give a straight answer on a variety of pressing topics. She declined to say if it's legal for armed civilians to intimidate voters at the polls (it's not) if presidents should commit to a peaceful transfer of power, if Roe v. Wade was 'wrongly decided,' or if LGBTQ+ Americans have a constitutional right to marry. Senate Democrats called the process ‘a sham' and the gathering amid the pandemic ‘reckless,’ and reiterated that the rushed process ‘is not normal.’
Opponents criticize the move to confirm Barrett in the midst of a presidential election in which more than 45 million Americans have already cast their votes. Sens. Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham, and other GOP senators have been criticized for their hypocrisy while filling this seat, as McConnell famously blocked hearings on Pres. Obama’s SCOTUS pick, Merrick Garland, for 10 months in 2016. With the GOP controlling the chamber, Democrats have no way of stopping Barrett's confirmation on their own. At least four Republican senators would have to side with the Democrats to block Barrett’s confirmation; so far, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) have said they would oppose the nomination.