WASHINGTON – Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett won crucial backing Saturday when one of the last Republican holdouts announced her support for President Donald Trump’s pick ahead of a confirmation vote expected Monday.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, said during Saturday’s session that while she opposed her party’s decision to push ahead with the nomination process so close to the Nov. 3 presidential election, she supported the federal judge who is on track to lock in a conservative court majority for years to come.
Barrett already appeared to have enough votes for confirmation from Senate Republicans who hold the majority and are racing to install her on the high court before Election Day. But Murkowski’s nod gives her a boost of support. Only one Republican, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, is expected to oppose the judge.
“While I oppose the process that has led us to this point, I do not hold it against her,” Murkowski said.
The Senate opened the rare weekend session despite Democratic efforts to stall Trump’s nominee.
Democrats mounted more procedural hurdles during the day, but the party has no realistic chance of stopping Barrett’s advance. Barrett, a federal appeals court judge from Indiana, is expected to be confirmed Monday and quickly join the court.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell noted the political rancor but defended his handling of the process. “Our recent debates have been heated, but curiously talk of Judge Barrett’s actual credentials or qualifications are hardly featured,” he said. He called her one of the most “impressive” nominees for public office “in a generation.”
The fast-track confirmation process is like none other in U.S. history so close to a presidential election. Democrats call it a “sham” and say the winner of the Nov. 3 election should name the nominee to fill the vacancy left by the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Democratic leader Chuck Schumer warned Republicans the only way to remove the “stain” of their action would be to withdraw the nomination until after the election.