Judge Amy Coney Barrett moved one step closer to becoming Justice Amy Coney Barrett on Thursday. In a hearing that Democratic senators boycotted, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted unanimously to send Barrett’s nomination to fill the vacancy created by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to the floor. The full Senate, where Republicans hold a majority, is expected to vote on Monday on Barrett’s nomination.
The committee’s 10 Democratic members declined to attend Thursday morning’s hearing, with several of them instead placing in their chairs large photos of constituents who, they say, are concerned that Barrett will vote to strike down the Affordable Care Act. The justices are scheduled to hear oral argument on Nov. 10 in a challenge to the ACA’s requirement that virtually all Americans buy health insurance; if she is confirmed on Monday, Barrett could be on the bench in time to participate in that argument.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), the chair of the committee, began the hearing by complimenting his Democratic colleagues. He noted that they had “aggressively challenged” Barrett but had not done so “inappropriately.”
Graham also had kind words for his fellow Republicans, telling them that they had asked “questions that matter to you,” but at the same time shown “a tremendous amount of discipline to make sure that on our side the hearing went well.”
Graham had even warmer words for the nominee herself, calling Thursday’s vote a “groundbreaking historic moment” for the legal community. Graham said that he had “never seen anyone more capable” than Barrett “on the law.” Barrett, Graham declared, “embraces the pro-life cause in her personal life” but “understands that judging is not a cause.”
Graham blamed the strife over judicial nominations on Senate Democrats, saying that “they started this. Not me.” And he warned that the “Democratic Party of 2020 is hellbent on changing on the rules” regarding the Supreme Court.
This post is also published on SCOTUSblog.