The Supreme Court nomination of U.S. 7th Circuit Court Judge Amy Coney Barrett will officially go to the Senate floor for a final vote on Monday, Oct. 26.
“With regard to the Supreme Court justice, as I think you’ve already written, we’ll be voting to confirm justice-to-be Barrett next Monday,” Republican Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell confirmed in a Tuesday news conference on Capitol Hill.
“I think that will be another signature accomplishment in our effort to put on the courts, the federal courts, men and women who believe in the quaint notion that maybe the job of a judge is to actually follow the law.”
The Senate majority leader’s Tuesday statement comes after a heated week of hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee, in which Barrett was tested by partisans on both sides of the aisle regarding her legal philosophy and potential policy stances.
Those hearings began on Oct. 12, with confirmation proceedings taken up little more than three weeks before the 2020 presidential election and exactly 24 days after the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
And while some raised concerns about the Senate GOP’s relative sluggishness, Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham of South Carolina sought to allay those fears in a Sept. 27 appearance on Fox News, saying, “More than half of the Supreme Court justices who have had hearings were done within 16 days or less.”
According to the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service, the 15 Supreme Court nominees able to successfully pass the confirmation process since 1975 saw an average of 12 days elapse between their committee report and the final floor vote.
The reality left McConnell and Graham deep in crunch time, with just 11 full days between their own scheduled committee report and Election Day.
Given the pair’s timeline, however, only one member of the Senate GOP definitively announced intentions to oppose Barrett in the final vote: Sen. Susan Collins of Maine.
The at-risk moderate senator’s opposition would effectively handicap the 53-47 Republican Senate majority by one vote, but could not defeat Barrett’s confirmation without three other GOP defections.
Such an outcome is unlikely, as Trump rival and GOP swing Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah confirmed last Thursday that he would be voting in favor of Barrett’s elevation to the Supreme Court, The Salt Lake Tribune reported.
With Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado doing the same weeks ago, the final swing vote is Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, who initially opposed efforts to see the Supreme Court vacancy filled during an election year but has since clarified that she would vote on the merits if a floor vote were to be held.
According to The Hill, the slew of revelations led McConnell to tentatively declare victory last week, telling reporters he had the votes to confirm.
The Senate Judiciary Committee must first vote in favor of forwarding Barrett’s nomination to the Senate floor, however — and is expected to do so Thursday, albeit entirely along party lines.
From there, McConnell will introduce the nominee before the general body on Friday, prompting a weekend of markups and debate that is scheduled to end with a procedural vote Sunday and final confirmation the following morning.
Republican senators and staff aides pushed hard for that timeline, having expressed interest in seeing the matter squared away well before Election Day, in order to allow vulnerable candidates more time on the trail.
Trump campaign senior legal advisor Jenna Ellis told The Western Journal those eleventh-hour GOP efforts to drive voter turnout could see a boost from Barrett’s confirmation.
“The GOP-led Senate is keeping its commitment to processing President Trump’s nominee expeditiously,” Ellis said in an exclusive written statement. “After four days of hearings, Judge Barrett has shown her immense and impeccable qualifications to serve on the high Court as a judge — not an activist. President Trump’s most lasting legacy will be his filling of judicial vacancies with actual judges, who will faithfully hold the two political branches accountable.”
“The American people need him in office for another four years to continue to preserve and protect this critical separation of powers. The Democrats and Joe Biden have clearly shown they don’t want to be held accountable and want a partisan, activist Court to rubber-stamp their unconstitutional policy agenda,” the advisor added.
“I think the Court will be an important and crucial consideration for voters re-electing President Trump.”