Senators Susan Collins (R., Maine.) and Lisa Murkowski (R., Alaska) voted on Friday against moving the Senate into an executive session to allow McConnell to expedite the final confirmation vote that is expected to seat Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.
The Senate ended up approving the move to executive session — which allows McConnell to file cloture, thereby overcoming any potential filibuster — by a vote of 51-46. Republicans are attempting to confirm Judge Barrett to the Court bench next week, cementing a 6-3 majority of conservative justices.
However, moderate Republicans Collins and Murkowski did not support the motion. Collins has already stated she will not vote in favor of Barrett’s nomination because of the vote’s proximity to the presidential election.
Additionally, the Maine senator is in the midst of a difficult reelection campaign against Sarah Gideon, the Democratic speaker of the state House. President Trump is deeply unpopular among Maine voters, and the senator has struggled to keep a level of ideological distance between Trump and herself.
Murkowski has not stated definitively how she will vote during the confirmation, although she, like Collins, has repeatedly voiced opposition to holding the confirmation in the week before elections.
“I’ve shared for a while that I didn’t think we should be taking this up until after the election, and I haven’t changed,” Murkowski told Newsweek on Thursday. When asked if her comments meant she intends to vote against Barrett’s confirmation, the senator responded, “That means I haven’t changed my mind on that.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has vowed to confirm Barrett on Monday. While Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D., Il.) has acknowledged that the Democrats cannot effectively stop the confirmation, Democrats engaged in procedural delay tactics on Friday in an attempt to slow the process.