Alaska GOP senator Lisa Murkowski, who announced immediately after the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg that she opposed holding a vote on a Supreme Court nominee before the election, said on Saturday she nevertheless will vote “yes” on the final vote to confirm Amy Coney Barrett.
“I will vote ‘no’ on the procedural votes ahead of us, but ‘yes’ to confirm Judge Barrett when the question before us is her qualification to be an associate justice on the Supreme Court,” Murkowski said during remarks on the Senate floor.
Murkowski’s vote isn’t necessary to confirm Barrett — it was already clear there were 51 Republican senators to vote “yes.” But her support for Barrett is a clear sign that the Alaska senator intends to remain in the Republican caucus.
Murkowski lost a Republican primary challenge in 2010 but still held onto her seat that November by running as an independent write-in candidate. In 2016, she easily won the Republican primary, but Murkowski opposed the confirmation of Supreme Court justice Brett Kavanaugh in 2018. A vote against Barrett may have been tantamount to ejecting herself from the Republican Party. “You could launch, fund, and win a Republican Senate primary on this vote alone,” one GOP strategist told National Review.
The vote to cut off debate on Barrett’s nomination is scheduled for Sunday, and the confirmation vote is scheduled for Monday.