(Headline USA) With a vote date set, the Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday debated the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett for the Supreme Court, Democrats objecting to Republicans’ “rush” to confirm President Donald Trump‘s pick before the Nov. 3 election.
The committee set an Oct. 22 vote to recommend Barrett’s nomination and send it to the full Senate for a vote by month’s end.
“If anybody in America is ready to go to the Supreme Court” it’s Barrett, said Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.
Democrats tried, and failed, as the minority party to halt the process.
Their actions — which included initially only Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., showing up to the committee’s initial markup and making a motion to end the meeting because there are two minority members needed for a quorum — appear to fulfill a promise from Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., that Democrats “will not supply the quorum. Period,” and that they will do everything they can to delay Barrett’s confirmation.
“Under the rules of this committee you cannot proceed with the business of the committee, even with a quorum present, unless there are two members of the minority present as well,” Durbin told Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., at the start of the meeting. “I want to take official note of the fact that I am the only member of the minority that is here.”
Graham introduced the motion anyway and scheduled a vote on Barrett for 1 p.m. on Oct. 22 before other Democratic senators began to filter in.
After they arrived, the Democrats whined about moving forward on the nominee.
“This is a sham,” said Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., arguing the Senate should wait until after the election and allow the winner of the presidency to chose the nominee for the vacant seat.
“I believe that this rush, sham process is a disservice to our committee,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn.
“It’s going to create a lot of bad will that doesn’t need to be created,” said Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein of California.
The session on Thursday is without Barrett after two long days of public testimony in which she stressed that she would be her own judge and sought to create distance between herself and past positions critical of abortion, the Affordable Care Act and other issues.
Her confirmation to take the seat of the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg seems inevitable, as even some Senate Democrats acknowledged.
Graham pushed past Democratic objections and procedural moves to set the panel’s Oct. 22 vote on recommending her confirmation even before final witnesses testify before and against her nomination.
In the minority, Democrats acknowledge there is little they can do stop them from shifting the court toward more conservatism for years to come.
Republicans insisted they were well within norms with Trump as president.
Democrats called it a “power grab” and violation of Senate traditions.
Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., said there “is nothing wrong with confirming a devout pro-life Christian.”
Adapted from reporting by Associated Press.