The Senate voted to reconvene for a Saturday session as Republicans push to confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court and solidify a conservative majority in the face of Democrat efforts to prevent the confirmation before Nov. 3.
On Saturday, senators will begin several days of debate on whether to approve the appeals court judge nominated by President Donald Trump, despite Democrat senators trying to slow the process through several votes on Friday.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) filed a cloture motion that allows a Justice to be confirmed with a simple majority. Convening the Senate over the weekend is being done to allow for the final vote on Barrett’s confirmation to be completed before 8 p.m. on Monday.
“It’s hard to think of any nominee we’ve had in the past who is any better than this one,” said McConnell.
The Senate is expected to vote on Sunday to limit the debate over the nominee, setting up that final vote for Monday. The Chamber went into a brief closed session Friday, which has not done in 10 years, in an attempt by Democrats to delay the nomination of Barrett.
“The Republican majority is on the precipice of making a colossal and historic mistake,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer on the floor of the Senate. “And the damage it does to this chamber will be irrevocable after thwarting the constitutional prerogative of a duly elected democratic president to support to appoint a Supreme Court justice because it was an election year.”
Since Barrett’s nomination in September, Democrats have been calling the process illegitimate, claiming that the Justice who will replace the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg should be picked after the next election in the hope that Democratic nominee Joe Biden will have won the office.
They claim that because Barrett is a conservative, she will overturn long-standing precedent, including overturning Roe v. Wade and repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA), an issue that will be coming before the Supreme Court in November.
Schumer said Friday that the Republican push to confirm Barrett was “the most partisan, hypocritical, least legitimate process in the history of the nation.”
In 2017, McConnell changed the Senate rules to allow confirmation of a Justice by a simple majority of the 100 senators, rather than the 60-vote base-line traditionally needed to advance high court nominees without objections. With 53 Republican Senators, Barrett’s confirmation is almost certain.
On Thursday the nominee was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee in a 12–0 vote, which all 10 Democrat senators on the committee had boycotted.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), the committee chairman, acknowledged the partisan nature of the proceedings. “As you know, our Democratic colleagues announced last night that they would boycott today’s vote. They made a choice not to participate. It was my choice to call a vote on Barrett’s nomination today. We won’t allow them to take over the committee.”
Ranking Member of the Judiciary Committee Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said of the nomination process and the reason Democrats’ boycotted the confirmation hearing on Thursday, “We made our case about risks to affordable care, especially the Affordable Care Act, reproductive freedom, the right to vote, and equality for all. We believe that both the Affordable Care Act and Roe v. Wade could be lost.”
Meanwhile, Republicans are set to confirm Judge Barrett as soon as possible. “We will give this nominee the vote she deserves no later than Monday,” said McConnell.