The Republican-led US Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday approved President Donald Trump’s nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to a lifetime Supreme Court seat despite a Democratic boycott, clearing the way for a final Senate confirmation vote.
By a 12-0 vote, the panel approved Barrett with all Republican members voting yes and the 10 committee Democrats boycotting the meeting after calling the confirmation process a sham. With Trump’s fellow Republicans holding a 53-47 Senate majority, Barrett’s confirmation appears certain.
Trump, who asked the Senate to confirm Barrett before the November 3 US election in which he is being challenged by Democrat Joe Biden, applauded the committee vote, writing on Twitter: “Big day for America!”
Democratic leader Chuck Schumer called the vote “the most rushed, the most partisan and the least legitimate process in the long history of Supreme Court nominations.” He said the Republican hurry to confirm Barrett was “a naked power grab” through a “sham vote,” arguing that Republicans broke the committee’s own rules by approving the nomination without Democrats present.
But Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, who is a Republican, said the Democratic boycott was “their choice.”
Barrett, nominated on September 26 to succeed the late liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, has criticized previous rulings upholding Obamacare but said during her confirmation hearing she has no agenda to invalidate the measure.
No nominee to the Supreme Court has ever been confirmed by the Senate this close to a presidential election. More than 45 million ballots already have been cast. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has planned a confirmation vote on the Senate floor on Monday.