The Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to vote on judge Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court on Thursday, but some Republican Senators are warning that Democrats could try a number of procedural and legislative delays to push the vote further into October.
Fox News reports that the committee is giving its members a week to mull the nomination, “as is custom,” and plans to meet to “consider Barrett’s nomination at 1 pm ET on Thursday, Oct. 22.”
“The committee will vote to send the nomination to the floor (technically the ‘calendar,’ but that’s another story),” the outlet reported late Saturday. “A nominee does not have to have a ‘favorable; recommendation from the committee to go to the floor. Robert Bork received an ‘unfavorable’ recommendation from the committee in 1987 (and was defeated on the floor). Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas was sent to the floor with ‘no recommendation’ in 1991 before being confirmed.”
“The committee will need a simple majority vote to advance the nomination to the full Senate,” Fox continued.
Barrett’s nomination is expected to pass out of the Senate Judiciary Committee on a strict party-line vote, but questions remain as to whether Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) might join with Republican colleagues, after being on the receiving end of waves of hatred last week, simply for complimenting Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) on his expedient handling of Barrett’s hearings.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) says he plans to move on the Judiciary Committee’s recommendation immediately and send Barrett’s nomination to the full Senate for a vote on Friday.
In order to force the Senate to consider Barrett’s nomination, Fox notes, McConnell needs to take the Senate out of “legislative session” and move it into an “executive session,” and that’s where Democrats can trigger a number of roadblocks designed to delay Barrett’s vote. They will not, however, be able to delay the process for very long; McConnell needs a simple majority vote to move forward with Barrett’s nomination and McConnell needs the same number of votes to file for cloture, ending Senate debate on the subject and putting Barrett to vote a maximum of 30 hours later.
Last week, Democrats, through Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), indicated their willingness to throw up procedural roadblocks in order to push back Barrett’s confirmation. Durbin was the only Democratic legislator to show up for hearings on Thursday, Fox News reported at the time, and openly challenged the GOP’s decision to proceed with testimony from Barrett’s witnesses regardless.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) also made a “motion to indefinitely delay the vote on Barrett, which tipped off debate from multiple senators, including from Democrats and accusations of hypocrisy, criticism of Barrett, criticism of the process this close to the election and reprisals of Democrats warnings that Barrett might decide to overturn the Affordable Care Act (ACA).”
Blumenthal’s motion failed.