WASHINGTON — The Senate Judiciary Committee advanced the nomination Thursday of Amy Coney Barrett to serve as a Supreme Court justice in a 12-0 vote, with Democrats boycotting the day’s proceeding.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., made it clear Wednesday that Democrats have no plans to “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.”
All 10 Democrats on the 22-member committee boycotted the vote and filled their empty seats in the committee room with posters of people who risk losing their health insurance if the Affordable Care Act is dismantled. Democrats argued throughout Barrett’s confirmation hearing last week that she would vote with other conservative justices to overturn the 2010 health care law. The high court is scheduled to hear oral arguments in a case challenging the law on Nov. 10.
Reacting to Democrats’ decision to not participate Thursday, Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said, “That was their choice. It will be my choice to vote the nominee out of committee.”
“We’re not going to allow them to take over the committee. They made a choice not to participate,” he added.
Graham praised Barrett of doing an “exceptionally good job of handling the questions asked” last week and complimented Democrats for “aggressively” challenging Barrett but not “inappropriately.”
“It’s moments like this when you can tell young conservative women that there’s a place at the table for you,” Graham said.
Even with Democrats absent, the vote was still counted. Two Democratic committee aides said that the senators in their party will hold a press conference with Schumer at 10:15 a.m. on the steps outside the Capitol. Then at 11 a.m., some Democrats are expected to walk to the Supreme Court and join demonstrators protesting Barrett’s nomination.
Barrett, who’s not attending the vote Thursday, testified before the committee last week in a marathon confirmation hearing and would not answer many questions.
Democrats have warned that Barrett’s record shows that she would be just as conservative as her mentor, the late Justice Antonin Scalia. In addition to their warnings about how she could threaten Obamacare, Democratic lawmakers also say they fear her confirmation could lead to a reversal of the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that protects a woman’s right to abortion.
Democrats have also said that one of the main reasons President Donald Trump and the Republicans are trying to ram Barrett’s nomination through the Senate ahead of the election is because Trump wants her installed on the bench in case there’s a dispute over the election results that rises to the Supreme Court, as it did in the 2000 Bush v. Gore election.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is planning to hold a final floor vote on Barrett’s nomination Monday and she’s expected to be confirmed. Supreme Court nominees only require 51 votes to be confirmed.