Democrat plans to derail a Senate Judiciary Committee vote approving Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation to the Supreme Court ended up in shambles Thursday after Republicans moved up the vote by several hours, leaving Democrats scrambling to respond.
The vote to recommend Barrett be confirmed to the Supreme Court was scheduled for 1 pm, but after learning that Democrats on the panel planned to boycott the hearing, they moved up the vote to 9 am. Barrett’s nomination was passed out of committee on a party-line vote, 12-0.
Typically, a Democrat boycott might have forced the Judiciary Committee out of session, since it prevented the formation of a quorum, but Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) allowed for a last-minute rule change, giving Republicans the power to pass Barrett out of committee on a simple majority vote.
Democrats, instead, were limited to just one show of force against the vote: large photos of individuals they claim will be detrimentally affected if Barrett votes to eliminate the Affordable Care Act, one possible — but unlikely — outcome of a case the Supreme Court will hear in early November challenging the ACA’s constitutionality.
Democrats are boycotting the Judiciary vote for Barrett, and in their place are large portraits of people benefiting from the Affordable Care Act whom the senators spoke about last week pic.twitter.com/4aMOJeF35j
— Seung Min Kim (@seungminkim) October 22, 2020
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), who masterminded the boycott plan, was left to hold a planned press conference announcing the boycott at 10 am — an hour after Republicans had finished voting.
“Democrats will not lend a single ounce of legitimacy to this sham vote in the judiciary,” Schumer said at his hastily pulled together presser on the Capitol steps.
“The nomination of Amy Coney Barrett is the most illegitimate process I have ever witnessed in the Senate, and her potential confirmation will have dire, dire consequences for the Senate for the Supreme Court and our entire country for generations to come,” Schumer, who has been working to roadblock Barrett’s nomination for the last week, added. “The Senate Republican majority is conducting the most rushed, the most partisan, and the least legitimate nomination to the Supreme Court in our nation’s history.”
“This hearing was anything but fair,” Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) added. “Republicans broke committee rules, but in many ways even worse than that, they broke their word.”
He failed to note that Republicans temporarily altered committee rules in order to overcome a Democrat boycott.
Protesters, who had gathered outside the Senate to encourage Democrats to block Barrett’s confirmation, took aim at Schumer and others while they spoke, according to Fox News, with groups of women, some in Handmaid’s Tale costumes, screaming “You’re letting it happen” and “You’re letting Trump lead his coup” at the ten Senators who attended the event.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will now file for cloture on a vote to confirm Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, triggering a 30-hour debate period, after which the full Senate will vote on Barrett’s nomination. The final vote is expected late on Monday, and it looks likely that Barrett will be confirmed.