Key GOP se­na­tor backs nom­i­nee

San Francisco Chronicle - Late Edition (Sunday) - - NA­TION - By Lisa Mas­caro and Mary Clare Jalonick Lisa Mas­caro and Mary Clare Jalonick are Associated Press writ­ers.

WASH­ING­TON — Sen. Lisa Murkowski an­nounced Satur­day she will vote to con­firm Amy Coney Bar­rett, giv­ing cru­cial sup­port to Pres­i­dent Trump’s Supreme Court nom­i­nee be­fore the con­ser­va­tive judge faces a fi­nal vote ex­pected Mon­day.

The Alaska Repub­li­can had been a rare hold­out on Bar­rett, de­cry­ing that her nom­i­na­tion had pro­ceeded so close to a pres­i­den­tial elec­tion. Even though Bar­rett ap­pears to have sup­port for con­fir­ma­tion from Se­nate Repub­li­cans who hold the ma­jor­ity in the cham­ber, Murkowksi’s vote now gives Trump’s nom­i­nee ad­di­tional back­ing.

“While I op­pose the process that has led us to this point, I do not hold it against her,” Mukowski said dur­ing a rare week­end ses­sion Satur­day as Repub­li­cans raced to put Bar­rett on the court and seal a con­ser­va­tive ma­jor­ity be­fore elec­tion day de­spite Demo­cratic ef­forts to stall the process.

Democrats have mounted pro­ce­dural hur­dles, but the party has no re­al­is­tic chance of stop­ping Bar­rett’s ad­vance in the Repub­li­can­con­trolled Se­nate. Bar­rett, a fed­eral ap­peals court judge, is ex­pected to be con­firmed by Mon­day evening and quickly join the court.

Se­nate Ma­jor­ity Leader Mitch McCon­nell, RKy., noted the po­lit­i­cal ran­cor, but de­fended his han­dling of the process.

“Our re­cent de­bates have been heated, but cu­ri­ously talk of Judge Bar­rett’s ac­tual cre­den­tials or qual­i­fi­ca­tions are hardly fea­tured,” McCon­nell said. He called her one of the most “im­pres­sive“nom­i­nees for public of­fice “in a gen­er­a­tion.“

The fast­track con­fir­ma­tion process is like none other in U. S. his­tory so close to a pres­i­den­tial elec­tion. Democrats call it a “sham” and say the win­ner of the Nov. 3 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion should name the nom­i­nee to fill the va­cancy left by the late Jus­tice Ruth Bader Gins­burg.

Demo­cratic leader Chuck Schumer of New York warned Repub­li­cans the only way to re­move the “stain” of their ac­tion would be to “with­draw the nom­i­na­tion of Amy Coney Bar­rett un­til af­ter the elec­tion.”

Bar­rett, 48, pre­sented her­self in public tes­ti­mony be­fore the Se­nate Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee as a neu­tral ar­biter of cases on abor­tion, the Af­ford­able Care Act and pres­i­den­tial power — is­sues soon con­fronting the court. At one point she sug­gested, “It’s not the law of Amy.”

But Bar­rett’s past writ­ings against abor­tion and a rul­ing on the Oba­maera health care law show a deeply con­ser­va­tive thinker.

Trump said last week he is hope­ful the Supreme Court will undo the health law when the jus­tices take up a chal­lenge Nov. 10, the week af­ter the elec­tion.

At the start of Trump’s pres­i­dency, McCon­nell en­gi­neered a Se­nate rules change to al­low con­fir­ma­tion by a ma­jor­ity of the 100 se­na­tors, rather than the 60vote thresh­old tra­di­tion­ally needed to ad­vance high court nom­i­nees over ob­jec­tions. With a 5347 GOP ma­jor­ity, Bar­rett’s con­fir­ma­tion is al­most cer­tain.

Most Repub­li­cans are sup­port­ing Bar­rett’s con­fir­ma­tion. Only Repub­li­can Sen. Su­san Collins of Maine has said she won’t vote for a nom­i­nee so close to the elec­tion.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.