/Senate Judiciary Committee approves Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court, full Senate vote on Monday
Senate Judiciary Committee approves Amy Coney Barrett's nomination to the Supreme Court, full Senate vote on Monday

Senate Judiciary Committee approves Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court, full Senate vote on Monday


Christal Hayes and Nicholas Wu
USA TODAY
WASHINGTON – All 12 Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to approve Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Court nomination Thursday, clearing the way for the full Senate to vote on her confirmation Monday. Democrats had opted to boycott the hearing, leaving no one to oppose the nomination.
Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, called it “surreal” for the panel to vote on Barrett’s nomination without Democrats there.
Democrats had said they would boycott Thursday’s hearing and vote, hoping to prevent the committee from establishing a quorum. Instead, Democrats held a press conference Thursday morning. The boycott was an unsuccessful attempt at stalling the federal judge’s confirmation to the high court.
Republicans moved forward with the vote anyway, quickly approving her just minutes into what was scheduled to be an hours-long hearing.
“Judge Barrett is going to the floor,” said Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., after the panel finished voting on Barrett’s nomination. “I hope you look back at this time on the committee and say I was there when it mattered. And you were.”
What happens next?:Senate committee OKs Amy Coney Barrett. Here’s what happens next in her Supreme Court confirmation
President Donald Trump congratulated Republicans on the proceedings, calling it a “Big day for America!” in a tweet.
Speaking on the steps of the Capitol, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and the Democrats on the committee denounced the proceedings as “illegitimate.”
“A Republican majority has left us no choice,” Schumer said of Democrats’ boycotting of the hearing, accusing Graham of having “steamrolled over” the committee’s own rules to approve Barrett.
Graham said Wednesday, after hearing of the boycott, that Barrett “deserves a vote,” saying Democrats’ decision not to attend is “a disservice to Judge Barrett who deserves a vote, up or down.”
The Senate Judiciary Committee’s rules outline that at least nine members of the majority (Republicans) and at least two members of the minority (Democrats) need to be present to conduct business.
While Democrats boycotting the hearing technically meant the committee’s rules barred Republicans from moving forward on Barrett’s nomination, it wasn’t expected to stop the process.
The path forward:Amy Coney Barrett hearings conclude: Here’s what happens next in Supreme Court confirmation
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Sarah Binder, a political science professor at George Washington University and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, noted that “committee rules can’t enforce themselves.”
“Were a Democrat to raise a point of order in committee against proceeding, GOP majority could easily vote down the objection,” she said on Twitter, noting that any attempt to enforce this rule would be quashed by Republicans who hold the majority.
A spokeswoman for the GOP-led panel pointed to a Senate rule that allows the committee to move forward and cited seven times the panel had curbed the quorum rules since 2006.
Democrats had been teasing the possibility they might boycott Barrett’s hearings for days. While liberals have harshly criticized the process and Barrett’s appointment in the midst of Americans voting in a presidential election, Democrats have acknowledged they don’t have the power to halt her confirmation.
Only two Republicans, Sens. Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski, have voiced opposition to filling the vacancy on the court left by Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death before the election. Two other Republicans would have to join with Democrats in order to halt what appears to be Barrett’s inevitable confirmation to the Supreme Court.
The vote Thursday follows four days of hearings last week, where senators peppered Barrett with questions for hours about a host of issues that could come before the high court, including the Affordable Care Act, abortion, voting rights and climate change.
During the hearings:Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett strives to show independence from White House, Republicans
How Barrett could shift the court:Six conservative justices? 10 ways the Supreme Court could change
Barrett dodged answering many inquiries that dealt with contentious issues, frustrating Democrats who were eager to derail her confirmation, while vowing to keep an open mind on any issue that comes before her on the court.
Since Ginsburg died in September, both sides have fought over how to go about replacing her on the court. Republicans have sought to confirm a new justice by Election Day in an effort to add one more conservative justice to the court before a contentious election. Democrats, hoping Joe Biden defeats Trump and they regain control of the Senate, have said the outcome of the election should determine who gets to choose a new Supreme Court justice.
If Barrett is confirmed, there would be a 6-3 conservative majority on the Supreme Court.
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