The Republican-controlled Senate voted Sunday afternoon 51-48, nearly along party lines, to advance Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett for a final confirmation vote despite massive Democratic objections.
Her confirmation, scheduled for a Senate floor vote Monday, was hardly in doubt, with the GOP mostly united in support behind President Donald Trump’s third pick.
Democrats are poised to attempt to stall by keeping the Senate in session into the night with the argument that the winner of the November 3 election should choose the nominee to fill the vacancy left by Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died last month.
Barrett’s confirmation would lock in a 6-3 conservative majority for years to come.
Her ascent to the court also opens up a potential new era of rulings on abortion, gay marriage and the Affordable Care Act – as oral arguments regarding a case against Obamacare is scheduled to begin the week after the election.
‘The Senate is doing the right thing,’ Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell said as he vowed to install Barrett to the court by Monday.
The vote launched 30 hours of Senate debate.
Two Republicans – Lisa Murkowski, of Alaska, and Susan Collins, of Maine – voted against advancing the nominee.
Murkowski said Saturday that she would vote to confirm Barrett despite reservations regarding the rushed process, but appeared to change her mind last minute.
‘I have no doubt about her capability to do the job and to do it well,’ the Alaska senator said.
All Democrats who voted were opposed.
California Senator Kamala Harris, the vice-presidential nominee, missed the vote while campaigning in Michigan.
Barrett’s confirmation is almost certain as Republicans control the Senate 53-47 and there is no indication of an internal revolt against the conservative appeals court judge taking up a lifetime appointment to the highest U.S. court despite Democratic opposition.
In the short term, Barrett could weigh in on election and voting cases involving the Trump campaign before or after Election Day.
Trump has said he believes the Supreme Court will decide the election’s outcome and has made clear he wants Barrett on the bench for any election-related cases.
Barrett is also likely to participate in the Nov. 10 oral arguments in which Trump and fellow Republicans are asking the court to strike down the Affordable Care Act, the health reform law known as Obamacare.
A favorite of Christian conservatives, Barrett frustrated Senate Judiciary Committee Democrats during her confirmation hearing this month by sidestepping questions on abortion, presidential powers, climate change, voting rights, Obamacare and other issues.
Democrats boycotted the committee vote on Thursday that advanced the nomination to a final vote on the Senate floor.
Barrett, nominated on Sept. 26 to succeed Ginsburg, has criticized previous rulings upholding Obamacare but said during her confirmation hearing she has no agenda to invalidate the measure.
Democrats were incensed that Republicans moved forward with Barrett’s confirmation process so near an election after refusing in 2016 to allow the chamber to act on a Supreme Court nomination by Trump’s Democratic predecessor, Barack Obama, because it was an election year.
Republicans are hoping Barrett’s confirmation can give a boost to Trump and incumbent senators in the party facing tough re-election fights.
Barrett, 48, has been a federal appeals court judge since 2017 and previously was a legal scholar at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana.
SOURCE: Daily Mail, Katelyn Caralle; Reuters