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Judiciary Democrats Plan to Boycott Vote on Amy Coney Barrett Supreme Court Nomination

Judge Amy Coney Barrett on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., October 21, 2020. (Anna Moneymaker/Reuters)

Senate Judiciary Democrats plan to boycott a committee vote on Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Court nomination on Thursday.

Republicans will still hold the vote and advance the nomination, even if the ten Democratic senators on the panel boycott the proceedings.

Democrat’s protests come as liberal activists have criticized the senators’ handling of the nomination. Some liberal groups called on Senator Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the committee, to be removed from her high-ranking position on the panel after she praised chairman Lindsey Graham’s handling of the confirmation process last week.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) and the Democrats on the committee said in a statement that the confirmation hearings had been a “sham process” and claimed Republicans had broken “the promises and rules” that were created when they refused to consider former President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland in 2016.

“Fearing a loss at the ballot box, Republicans are showing that they do not care about the rules or what the American people want, but are concerned only with raw political power,” the statement said.

“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,” it added.

The senators said they would fill the seats with photos of people affected by the Affordable Care Act, a cause that has been top of mind for Democrats who have accused Barrett of wanting to get rid of the Obama-era health care law. Instead of attending the vote, Democrats plan to hold two press conferences on Thursday.

Judiciary Committee rules say 12 members must be present to report a nomination to the floor. There are enough Republican senators to meet the requirement in the event that every one of them is present. However, two members of the minority party must be present in order to transact business. 

Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) on Wednesday said that he would hold a vote on the nomination whether Democratic senators are in attendance or not.

Graham said Barrett “deserves a vote and she will receive a vote.” 

“As to my Democratic colleagues’ refusal to attend the markup, that is a choice they are making. I believe it does a disservice to Judge Barrett who deserves a vote, up or down,” Graham added. 

Barrett is expected to be confirmed in a final vote on Monday following a rare weekend session.

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