Schumer Says Democrats Won’t Give Republicans Quorum in Barrett Nomination

October 12, 2020 Updated: October 12, 2020

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Sunday night promised that Democrats will not “supply quorum” for the votes needed to advance the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, saying that the confirmation process was not legitimate.

He also demanded that Barrett recuse herself from cases involving the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, and the upcoming presidential election.

“Democrats will not supply the quorum” to the Senate  Judiciary Committee for a vote, Schumer remarked to reporters on Sunday, signaling that he might boycott a committee meeting on Thursday if Republicans do not have enough of their members present at the hearing to achieve a quorum needed under committee rules.

In the full Senate, a quorum is 51 members, and the quorum in the Judiciary panel is nine members, including two in the minority, or Democratic, party. If one or fewer Democrats show up for the Oct. 22 vote on Barrett’s confirmation, they could prevent the committee from sending the nomination to the Senate.

Judge Amy Coney Barrett
Judge Amy Coney Barrett on Capitol Hill in Washington on Oct. 1, 2020. (Demetrius Freeman-Pool/Getty Images)

“We will talk about when the actual vote occurs in committee and on the floor. Democrats will not supply the quorum,” Schumer said, according to Fox News. “Period.”

However, there are a number of ways to bypass Schumer’s tactics, and the Senate can vote to discharge a resolution that would allow Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to call the nomination of Barrett for a full Senate vote. Because there are 53 Republicans who hold the majority, if all the Democrats boycott the final floor vote, they won’t stop Republicans from ultimately achieving a quorum.

Barrett was nominated by President Donald Trump last month after the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Democrats have said her nomination should not go through and added that the winner of the next election should decide who should fill Ginsburg’s seat. However, Trump and GOP leaders in the Senate said the president has the right to do so under the Constitution.

Meanwhile, Barrett, according to a copy of her speech, said she will tell the Senate Judiciary Committee that the Supreme Court shouldn’t try to make new policies. Her remarks stressed that she is a proponent of the late Justice Antonin Scalia’s legal theories. Barrett previously was a legal clerk for Scalia, who died in 2016.

“It was the content of Justice Scalia’s reasoning that shaped me. His judicial philosophy was straightforward: A judge must apply the law as written, not as the judge wishes it were. Sometimes that approach meant reaching results that he did not like,” Barrett wrote.