Amy Coney Barrett to Be Confirmed Just 8 Days Before Election as Republicans Rush Past Procedural Steps

Amy Coney Barrett is expected to be confirmed to the Supreme Court by Monday—as Republicans rush through the procedural steps to put President Donald Trump's pick on the court just a week before Election Day.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he will begin the process to confirm Barrett, 48, as soon as the Senate Judiciary Committee votes on her nomination on Thursday. After Thursday's vote, procedural votes are expected on Friday and to continue over the weekend.

The Associated Press reported that the Senate is expected to work through the weekend to confirm Barrett. A final vote to confirm Barrett could take place as soon as Monday, according to the AP.

A nomination for the Supreme Court has never been voted on so close to a presidential election.

With a 53-47 majority for the GOP in the Senate, and only two Republican senators opposed, the 48-year-old appellate court judge is expected to be confirmed to a lifetime appointment on the nation's highest court, cementing a 6-3 conservative majority for years, if not decades, to come.

Last week, Judge Barrett proved she has the deep legal expertise, judicial temperament, and intellectual horsepower that Americans deserve to have on the Supreme Court. The Senate will turn to her nomination as soon as it comes out of committee later this week.

— Leader McConnell (@senatemajldr) October 19, 2020

In a statement on Monday, McConnell said Barrett demonstrated during her confirmation hearings that she "has the deep legal expertise, dispassionate judicial temperament, and sheer intellectual horsepower that the American people deserve to have on their Supreme Court."

He added: "I look forward to the Judiciary Committee's vote on Thursday. The full Senate will turn to Judge Barrett's nomination as soon as it comes out of committee. I'll be proud to vote to confirm this exceptional jurist."

Democrats have little recourse to block Barrett's confirmation, but have repeatedly condemned the rush to confirm a nominee to the court so close to an election. They are hoping two more Republican senators will break ranks.

In a speech as the Senate opened on Monday, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer condemned Republicans for holdings what he said were "farcical" hearings to confirm Trump's Supreme Court nominee, even as some GOP senators were sickened by, or exposed to, the coronavirus.

"Last week, the Republican majority on the Senate Judiciary Committee concluded what can only be described as a farcical set of hearings for a Supreme Court nominee, in the midst of a pandemic when several members of the committee majority were exposed to or tested positive for coronavirus or themselves were sick with COVID-19 in the days immediately beforehand," he said.

"Why? Because the Republican majority wanted to jam this nomination through before the election."

Noting Senate Republicans have ignored the precedent they set four years ago when they refused to consider Barack Obama's Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland, Schumer added: "The Republican majority is running the most hypocritical, most partisan and least legitimate process in the history of Supreme Court confirmations," he added.

Schumer also criticized Barrett for her evasiveness, saying she "answered nothing of substance" over days in her confirmation hearings. Barrett revealed little about her position on key topics when senators asked her about her views on abortion, the Affordable Care Act, climate change and other issues that will likely come before the Supreme Court.

"If the Republican majority gets its way, she will be a justice on the highest court in the country, but apparently the American people do not deserve to hear anything about her views," Schumer said.

Schumer said Barrett's views are "so far away from what the average American believes" and "would do so much damage to the fundamental structure and comity of this country."

He added: "I just hope and pray two Republicans will see the light and realize that we should not nominate any nominee before the election, which is two weeks and one day away."

Barrett also declined to say if she would recuse herself from cases involving the election. Trump has previously said he wanted to fill the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's seat on the court in time to resolve any election-related disputes that may arise. Ginsburg, a feminist and liberal icon, died aged 87 last month.

If confirmed, Barrett could cast the deciding vote on such matters to benefit Republicans.

On Monday, a deadlocked Supreme Court let stand a ruling that allows Pennsylvania election officials to count mail-in ballots received up to three days after Election Day.

Republicans, including Trump's campaign, have opposed the extension in the key battleground state, seen as a victory for Democrats, who have requested mail-in ballots in far greater numbers.

Amy Coney Barrett
Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the third day of her confirmation hearings on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC., on October 14, 2020. Jonathan Ernst-Pool/Getty Images

Editor's Picks

Newsweek cover
  • Newsweek magazine delivered to your door
  • Unlimited access to
  • Ad free experience
  • iOS and Android app access
  • All newsletters + podcasts
Newsweek cover
  • Unlimited access to
  • Ad free experience
  • iOS and Android app access
  • All newsletters + podcasts