Senate panel advances Barrett Supreme Court nomination despite Democrats’ boycott

WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — The Senate Judiciary Committee voted to send the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the full Senate.

The vote Thursday morning comes as Senate Democrats boycotted the session, and it clears the way for Barrett’s potential confirmation on Monday.

The panel approved Barrett 12-0, with all Republican members voting yes while the Democrats weren’t in attendance as a form of protest to the process that Sen. Chuck Schumer called “illegitimate.”

Democrats have been urging Republicans to wait for the results of the November presidential election before advancing a nominee to fill the Supreme Court vacancy left by the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

“The Senate majority is conducting the most rushed, the most partisan and the least legitimate process in the long history of Supreme Court nominations,” Schumer told reporters after the vote.

The decision to boycott forced Republicans on the panel to change its rules to keep the confirmation on track, a move that Democrats were unable to stop given the GOP’s 53-47 Senate majority. Those rules said at least two members of the minority party, Democrats, would need to be present to constitute a quorum for doing business.

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said in a statement that Judge Barrett deserved a vote.

“Barrett deserves to be on the Supreme Court and she will be confirmed,” he said, adding that Democrats “made a choice not to participate.”

Before the vote Thursday, Graham said it marked a “groundbreaking moment” for conservatives.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has been pushing to get President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee confirmed to the lifetime role before Election Day. He defended Barrett as “exceptionally qualified.”

While sitting out on the vote, Democrats arranged for posters to be placed at their spots of constituents they said had been helped by the Affordable Care Act.

Democrats have been trying unsuccessfully to stall the process until after the Nov. 3 election, so the winner of the presidency could name the new nominee.

“We should not be moving forward on this nomination,” Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said. He called Barrett’s views “so far out of the mainstream.”

Democrats reacted at a press conference held after the vote.

The Supreme Court is set to hear a challenge to the health care law on Nov. 10, one week after the presidential election.

Senators are planning to meet this weekend for procedural actions ahead of a final confirmation vote, which is expected Monday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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