Oct 21, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Senate Dems will boycott vote to advance Judge Amy Coney Barrett

Amy Coney Barrett wearing a face mask
Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

Senate Democrats are expected to boycott Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett’s Thursday Judiciary Committee vote, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced on Wednesday.

The big picture: The boycott will not prevent Barrett from moving forward in the nomination process, but the largely symbolic display is a symptom of Democrats and Republicans’ clashing over President Trump’s Supreme Court pick.

The state of play: The Senate Judiciary panel will determine whether Barrett moves forward for a full floor vote, which is scheduled for Monday.

  • The Senate is expected to confirm Barrett.

Yes, but: With fewer than two weeks until Election Day, Democrats have repeatedly characterized her confirmation as “illegitimate,” recalling that Senate Republicans blocked former President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee in 2016.

  • At the time, McConnell said voters should decide in the presidential election.

The other side: Senate Republicans claim this time things are different because the White House and Senate are controlled by the same party.

  • "In light of Sen. Schumer's statement that Democrats will boycott tomorrow's vote ... If the Democrats do not show up to the meeting the Senate Judiciary Committee will still gavel in at 9am and we expect a vote to report Judge Barrett’s nomination to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States to begin shortly thereafter," Sen. Lindsey Graham's communications director said Wednesday evening.

What they're saying: “We will not grant this process any further legitimacy by participating in a committee markup of this nomination just twelve days before the culmination of an election that is already underway,” Schumer (D-N.Y.) told Politico on Wednesday.

  • In a conference call last month, he told fellow congressional Democrats that "nothing is off the table next year" if Republicans move to fill the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's seat.
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