Over Democrat’s objections, which included boycotting a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Republicans moved Amy Coney Barrett one step closer to a lifetime appointment on the Supreme Court.
On a 12-0 vote, the committee approved Coney Barrett, who will next face a vote from the full Senate. It marks another key milestone in Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s plan to rush her through before the election to fill the seat left open by the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Senate Democrats refused to attend the hearing, leaving their empty chairs with large color photos of everyday Americans they say have benefited from the Affordable Care Act and who could lose their health insurance if it’s overthrown by the Supreme Court. And the Court is slated to hear another Obamacare – or Affordable Care Act – challenge on Nov. 10th.
On Wednesday night, Democrats on the Judiciary Committee argued that not attending would leave the meeting two votes short of the necessary quorum to proceed with a vote.
“The rules require two members of the minority to be present to vote anyone out of committee, but Chairman [Lindsey] Graham just steamrolled over them, just like the Republican majority has steamrolled over principal, fairness, honesty, truth and decency in their rush to confirm a justice,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) told reporters outside the Capitol.
Judiciary Committee Chairman Graham brushed aside Democrats’ protests and complaints. And in the end he rallied his committee’s Republican troops, all of whom voted to push the nomination forward.
“It’s official. We did it. Judge Barrett is going to the floor,” Graham tweeted after the vote.
The entire ordeal smells political to Democrats.
“President Trump has said he wants her there in time for a case that’s coming in two weeks. And he wants her on the bench in case he needs her to rule in his favor in case we have a contested election,” Schumer told reporters in a Thursday morning phone call before the session. “It’s the most rushed, partisan, least legitimate Supreme Court process in our nation’s history. McConnell has completed his defiling of the Senate, ruining the Senate by what he is doing here.”
The vote for Barrett’s nomination is expected as soon as Monday, a move that Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and other Senate leaders hope will energize conservative Republicans before the election.
Besides the Affordable Care Act, Democrats have warned that Barrett’s ascension – which will give the Court a 6-3 conservative majority – might endanger civil rights, abortion access, LGBTQ rights, just to name a few. .
Barrett refused to answer any questions of substance during last week’s Senate hearings, so they argue that Americans don’t know what her views on any of these issues might be.
“We knew before the hearing that Barrett holds extreme views on reproductive rights and freedom – and her hearing made that even clearer,” said Fatima Goss Graves, president and CEO of the National Women’s Law Center. “She dismissed countless questions by saying that her personal views are separate from her legal views … Her harmful positions on issues of gender justice extend to sexual violence, and the rights of LGBTQ people. We deserve a justice who will fight for the civil rights of women and girls, and all of us.”