Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee completed a significant step in confirming President Donald Trump's pick for a new Supreme Court justice on Thursday, despite Democrats' attempts to throw up parliamentary roadblocks in an attempt to delay the process.
The committee reconvened at 9 a.m. ET on Thursday — four hours earlier than was previously scheduled — and held a vote that sent Barrett's confirmation to the Senate floor. No Democrats were present for the vote, following the promise of Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York, who said Monday that they intended to "boycott" the vote.
Committee rules require that a quorum — or a minimum number of senators from the minority party — be present at the meeting for a vote to take place. Republicans simply changed the committee rules and voted anyway.
Schumer tweeted Wednesday that he will force a vote to adjourn the Senate until after the election. That vote will likely fail, given that Republicans control the Senate. He and other top Democrats will hold a press conference later on Thursday.
According to The Washington Post, some Democrats placed cardboard cutouts of their constituents who have benefitted from the Affordable Care Act in their seats.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he plans to keep Senators in Washington through the weekend to focus on Barrett's confirmation. McConnell has said he plans to conduct the full Senate vote on Barrett's confirmation on Monday. At this point, only two Republicans appear to be wavering in their support for Barrett, meaning her confirmation should still pass with at least 51 "yes" votes.
Thursday's vote comes after the committee held four days of hearings last week. While President Donald Trump has said that he would only nominate a Supreme Court justice which he believed would rule against abortion rights and the Affordable Care Act — and Barrett's past opinions and rulings indicate she fits those qualifications — she mostly avoided answering specific policy questions, citing the precedent set by other future justices during their confirmation hearings.
Democrats have argued that the Senate should hold off on appointing a Supreme Court justice until after the November election, considering that a Republican-controlled Senate chose to keep a seat vacant for nearly nine months ahead of the 2016 election rather than grant President Barack Obama's nominee a hearing.
Republicans have said that because they control the White House and the Senate, they have an obligation to those that voted for them to fill the seat immediately. Opinion polling indicates that most Americans would prefer the seat be filled by whoever wins the 2020 election.
Should she be confirmed, Barrett would replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a liberal stalwart who served on the high court for nearly three decades.