Key GOP senator backs nominee
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.