Source: China State Council Information Office
Republicans on the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee voted Thursday to advance the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court despite a boycott by Democrats.
The result of the hearing, at which all the 10 Democratic members of the committee were absent, greenlighted a full Senate vote scheduled for Monday in which the Republicans, who hold the majority in the chamber, have enough votes to confirm the nominee picked by President Donald Trump.
Pictures of people who rely on the Affordable Care Act were placed on the empty seats for the Democratic senators on the panel, a reminder of the Democrats’ argument that if Barrett, a conservative judge, were to be installed on the high court, the Obama-era health care law will very likely be repealed as the court hears the case on its constitutionality on Nov. 10, one week after Election Day.
“That was their choice,” said Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, referring to the Democrats’ decision to boycott the hearing. “It will be my choice to vote the nominee out of committee. We’re not going to allow them to take over the committee.”
“I’ve never seen anyone more capable than Judge Barrett,” said Graham, whose 11 fellow Republicans on the panel also unanimously voted to approve the nomination.
Since the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, whom Barrett will succeed should she be confirmed, Democrats have opposed nominating a new justice so close to the presidential election, arguing that a nominee should instead be decided by the president-elect chosen by the American people.
“Democrats will not lend a single ounce of legitimacy to this sham vote in the Judiciary Committee,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said at a news conference on the steps of the Capitol, which is just next to the Dirksen Senate Office Building where the committee hearing were held.
“We are voting with our feet. We are standing together. And we are standing against this mad rush to jam through a Supreme Court nomination just days, days before an election,” said Schumer, who announced the boycott the previous day.
With regard to Barrett, Democrats have criticized the 48-year-old appellate court judge for her opposition to Obamacare as well as conservative views on abortion rights. Democrats turned Barrett’s confirmation hearings last week to an emotional outcry for salvaging Obamacare, making their case that the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals judge and longtime Notre Dame University law professor is unfit to sit on the bench of the high court due to her previous critiques of the 2010 health care law and other issues.
“This has been a sham process from the beginning,” read a statement issued Wednesday by Schumer and Senate Judiciary Committee Democrats. “Throughout the hearings last week, committee Democrats demonstrated the damage a Justice Barrett would do – to health care, reproductive freedoms, the ability to vote, and other core rights that Americans cherish.”
Graham, in a statement Wednesday rebuking the Democratic boycott, called Barrett “one of the most highly qualified people” for the Supreme Court nomination, and one who “will faithfully apply the law to the facts without personal agenda and fully understands the difference between an impartial judge and a political activist.” He said Barrett deserves and will get the full Senate vote as well as the confirmation.
Barrett dodged questions asking about her decisions on specific legal issues during last week’s hearings as she was grilled by Democrats. “No hints, no previews, no forecasts,” she said at one point during the sessions, adding in another exchange with the senators, “I apply the law, I follow the law. You make the policy.”
Barrett’s expected confirmation will further solidify the conservative wing on the Supreme Court, giving the Republican appointees a 6-3 edge over the liberal justices tapped by Democratic presidents.