Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) announced on Sunday that he will vote against the confirmation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court if the vote is held before Election Day.
Manchin was the lone Democrat in the Senate to vote in favor of confirming Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. Unlike the Kavanaugh confirmation, Republicans have locked in the required number of votes to confirm Barrett well in advance of the final vote.
In the opinion piece, the West Virginia senator argued that the current plan to confirm Barrett eight days before the election is unprecedented.
“Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans have chosen a dangerous, partisan path to push through the confirmation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett eight days before this year’s Nov. 3 election that will politicize the highest court in the land. The facts are clear—never before has the president nominated and the Senate confirmed a Supreme Court justice between July and Election Day in a presidential election year,” Manchin wrote.
Barrett is Trump third appointee to the Supreme Court. The first two appointments, Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch, replaced Republican-appointed justices on the bench. Barrett, on the other hand, is replacing a Democrat-appointee, late liberal icon Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. If Barrett is confirmed, the nation’s highest court will have a 6-3 conservative majority.
Manchin wrote that he opposed former Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid’s 2013 decision to remove filibuster rules for executive and judicial branch nominees and Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s 2017 decision to remove the filibuster option of Supreme Court nominees.
“We should be working together to make the court less partisan, not more,” Manchin wrote. “The U.S. Senate is supposed to be the greatest deliberative body in the world, and perhaps we used to be. But each time a Senate majority—regardless of party—changes the rules, we reduce the incentive to work together across party lines.”
The Senate is scheduled to vote on Barrett’s confirmation on Oct. 26.
During Barrett’s confirmation hearings, Democrats focused largely on the fate of the Affordable Care Act, a consequential case on which will be before the court when Barrett is confirmed. The Justice Department is seeking to overturn the entire law based on the argument that it cannot stand after Congress severed Obamacare’s individual mandate, which imposed a penalty on Americans who did not buy health insurance.