Senate Democrats will boycott Amy Coney Barrett's Supreme Court confirmation hearing vote as GOP vows to move forward
WASHINGTON – Senate Democrats say they will boycott a committee hearing Thursday where Amy Coney Barrett's Supreme Court nomination is set to move forward, a longshot attempt that is unlikely to stall the federal judge's confirmation to the high court.
The Senate Judiciary Committee is set to vote tomorrow afternoon on Barrett's confirmation to the high court, a vote that was expected to pass along party lines and send her nomination to the full Senate for a Monday vote — just eight days before Election Day.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Democrats on the committee said in a statement that they wouldn't show up on Thursday to grant these "sham" and rushed proceedings any legitimacy for a nominee that could "take away health care from millions and execute the extreme and deeply unpopular agenda" that Republicans have attempted for years.
"We will not grant this process any further legitimacy by participating in a committee markup of this nomination just twelve days before the culmination of an election that is already underway," the statement said.
Schumer noted on the Senate floor Wednesday evening that Democrats not appearing for the hearing would mean a quorum was not present and thus the committee would not be able to move forward on Barrett's nomination.
"The bottom line is very simple: We should not be moving forward on this nomination," Schumer said from the Senate floor.
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.
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While Democrats boycotting the hearing would technically mean the committee's rules would bar Republicans from moving forward on Barrett's nomination, it's likely not to stop the process.
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.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, who chairs the Judiciary Committee, said the panel will move forward on voting with or without Democrats.
"Judge Barrett deserves a vote and she will receive a vote. Judge Barrett deserves to be reported out of committee and she will be reported out of committee. Judge Barrett deserves to be on the Supreme Court and she will be confirmed," the South Carolina Republican said. "As to my Democratic colleagues’ refusal to attend the markup, that is a choice they are making. I believe it does a disservice to Judge Barrett who deserves a vote, up or down."
Graham said he wasn't worried about the precedent it could set by going around the committee's rules on a quorum, telling reporters, "I worry about the game they're playing, and we’re not gonna. She deserves a vote."
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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.
While Democrats cannot stop her nomination, they have employed a host of procedural maneuvers to attempt to slow it down.
"Because our Republican colleagues have made such a mockery of the Supreme Court confirmation process, we are not going to have business as usual in the Senate,” Schumer said Monday before forcing votes on a series of maneuvers, including an attempt to adjourn the Senate until after the election.
Contributing: Nicholas Wu