The Senate Judiciary Committee, chaired by Senator Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., today unanimously approved a motion to report the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the full Senate with a recommendation that she be confirmed. The unanimous 12-0 vote came after all 10 Democrats on the committee boycotted the business meeting as a form of protest over Barrett’s nomination.
Graham spoke to the press shortly after the vote. “The Democrats chose to show up for her hearing and ask her hard questions. I think they owed it to her to show up today and vote her ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ They chose not to do that. They made a decision. I made a decision. It would be wrong to deny Judge Barrett a chance to be confirmed on the floor of the United States Senate.”
“Congratulations to Judge Barrett. You’ve worked really hard all of your life to be here, to be before the committee. And the committee did the right thing by reporting you out,” Graham added.
Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., announced the boycott on Wednesday.
“We should not be moving forward on this nomination,” Schumer said, calling Barrett’s views “so far out of the mainstream.”
On Thursday, following the committee vote, Schumer spoke again to the press.
“The nomination of Amy Coney Barrett is the most illegitimate process I have ever witnessed in the Senate,” he said. “And her potential confirmation will have dire, dire consequences for the Senate, for the Supreme Court and our entire country for generations to come.”
Schumer may have been alluding to the Democrats’ threat to pack the Supreme Court with additional justices, presumably appointed by a Democrat president.
For his part, Democrat presidential candidate Joe Biden has attempted to side-step the issue by saying he would announce his views on court-packing after Barrett is confirmed but before the election. This week, however, excerpts of an interview he gave to CBS’ “60 Minutes” show indicated he will convene a committee to make recommendations on “reforming” the court.
“If elected, what I will do is I’ll put together a national commission of — bipartisan commission of scholars, constitutional scholars, Democrats, Republicans, liberal/conservative. And I will — ask them to over 180 days come back to me with recommendations as to how to reform the court system because it’s getting out of whack,” Biden said in the interview.
Biden explained that the commission will go well beyond just the idea of court-packing. “There are a number of alternatives,” he explained.
In response to the threat of court-packing, Republicans are pushing for a constitutional amendment, introduced last year by Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., that would fix the number of Supreme Court justices at nine. “People need to be on the record about if they think it’s a good idea to destabilize one of the three branches of government with a court-packing scheme,” Rubio said at the time.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is keeping the Senate working this weekend on the nomination, with a final floor vote expected on Monday, October 26.
Photo from POOL/REUTERS
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