Amy Coney Barrett could be confirmed Monday for SCOTUS despite many tears from Democrats.
udge Amy Coney Barrett could be confirmed as the next U.S. Supreme Court justice on Monday. The U.S. Senate voted in favor of opening up 30 hours worth of debate on her nomination today.
While Sunday’s vote is only a procedural step, it underscores that Republicans have the votes to place Barrett on the Supreme Court just days before the Nov. 3 election. The timetable will set a new record for how close to a presidential election a nominee has been confirmed to the country’s highest court.
The Supreme Court fires up the GOP base, handing Republicans a victory to tout as they try to shore up support in the final days before the election. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) in particular, has put a premium on confirming Trump’s judicial nominees, arguing it’s the best thing the party can do to have a long-term impact on the direction of the country.
Democrats, obviously, see Monday’s coming vote as doom for America.
Senate Democrats have no procedural tools to stop Barrett’s nomination from going forward, despite several acts of protest in the lead-up to Sunday’s vote. Democrats boycotted the Senate Judiciary Committee’s vote to advance Barrett’s nomination to the floor, and in a highly unusual move on Friday they forced the Senate into a closed session for 20 minutes — the first time the Senate went into such a session in more than a decade.
The argument that the Senate has a constitutional obligation to act on a Supreme Court nomination is anything but “clear.” This claim finds no support in the relevant constitutional text, constitutional structure, or the history of judicial nominations.
While there are strong policy and prudential arguments that the Senate should promptly consider any and all nominations to legislatively authorized seats on the federal bench, and on the Supreme Court in particular, the argument that the Senate has some sort of constitutional obligation to take specific actions in response to a judicial nomination is erroneous.
Interestingly enough, the argument that the Senate has an obligation to consider judicial nominations is not new. In the face of Senate intransigence on some of his judicial nominees, President George W. Bush declared that: “The Senate has a Constitutional obligation to vote up or down on a President’s judicial nominees.” The argument was wrong then, and it is wrong now.
Adler also noted this year the number of justices who have been confirmed to their positions despite the White House and Senate being in opposite parties including Clarence Thomas, Anthony Kennedy, and David Souter. Something worth noting with Coney Barrett about to head to the Supreme Court.
Two things of note regarding today’s vote in the Senate. Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski voted against opening debate. The latter still plans to vote for Coney Barrett for SCOTUS while Collins, who may or may not win re-election, will not support the nomination. Politics. Always politics.