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Features & Columns

Senate Will Vote on Confirming Barrett on Monday

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Senate Will Vote on Confirming Barrett on Monday

2020-10-21 16:34:59

By Laura Tucker, Staff writer; Image: Amy Coney Barrett, Mitch McConnell (Image source: Public domain)

There doesn't seem much Democrats can do at this point to stop Donald Trump's third Supreme Court pick from being confirmed before the election. They just don't have the votes, with some very tight Senate races scheduled for November 3. Only two senators so far have been willing to stand up and agree that it's not right to confirm a Supreme Court pick so close to a presidential election.

This has given Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) the security to already schedule Barrett's confirmation vote, ahead of the vote by the Senate Judiciary Committee that is scheduled for Thursday.

"With regard to the Supreme Court justice ... we'll be voting to confirm justice-to-be Barrett next Monday," said McConnell during a weekly press conference.

The Supreme Court seat opened up unexpectedly after Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg unexpectedly died in September. While it was her last wish that she would be replaced by a nominee of the winner of the presidential contest, Trump plowed past that wish and nominated Barrett.

Four years ago McConnell refused to bring former President Barack Obama's Supreme Court pick, Merrick Garland, to a vote, saying it should be up to the people in the election.

Last year Senate Judiciary Chair Lindsey Graham (R-SC) vowed that he would not be putting through any nominees in this election year. Despite that, Graham held hearings last week for Barrett's nomination and will hold the vote on Thursday.

"I think that will be another signature accomplishment in our effort to put on the courts, the federal courts, men and women that believe in the quaint notion that maybe the job of a judge is to actually follow the law," said McConnell during the press conference.

It's been suggested that the reason the vote will be taking place right away on Monday is so that senators who are up for election in two weeks can spend the rest of the time on the campaign trail. Because of this, they are looking to confirm right away, just to get out there and face the voters.

To get to the Monday vote, it's expected that McConnell will set up the nomination on Friday after the Judiciary Committee pushes her through on Thursday. Friday's vote will set up a procedural vote on Sunday. Senators can still debate the nomination for another 30 hours, however.

Republicans do not appear concerned that this vote won't go the way they want. If Barrett goes on to be confirmed, it will be the closest this has taken place before a presidential election.

Republicans currently hold 53 seats in the Senate to the Democrats' 47. Even if three GOP senators vote against Barrett, Mike Pence could break the tie. 

Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), locked in a contentious reelection battle, has said she would vote against Barrett. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) has said she opposes voting a nominee through before an election but has not said how she would vote on the nomination. She is expected to meet with the nominee this week.

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