Murkowski announces she will vote yes to confirm Amy Coney Barrett

Author: Sam Fossum, Ted Barrett, Manu Raju and Ali Zaslav / CNN
WASHINGTON, DC – JUNE 23: Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) looks on during the US Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing to examine COVID-19, ‘focusing on lessons learned to prepare for the next pandemic’, on Capitol Hill on June 23, 2020 in Washington DC. (Photo by Michael Reynolds-Pool/Getty Images)

Sen. Lisa Murkowski announced Saturday that she will ultimately vote yes on Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation to the Supreme Court of the United States.

“I believe that the only way to put us back on the path of appropriate consideration of judicial nominees, is to evaluate Judge Barrett as we would want to be judged — on the merits of her qualifications. And we do that when that final question comes before us. And when it does, I will be a yes,” Murkowski said on the Senate floor.

The Alaska Republican had been keeping her decision private and had previously said that she did not believe the Senate should be taking up a Supreme Court nomination this close to the election.

Murkowski’s announcement comes just one day after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell cut off debate and set up a final confirmation vote for Barrett to take place just eight days before the election. McConnell’s move sets up a Sunday afternoon procedural vote to break a Democratic filibuster and then a final confirmation vote, likely Monday evening.

Only one Republican — Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, who is facing a competitive reelection fight — is expected to vote against the confirmation due to concerns that it’s too close to the election to consider a nominee.

All Democrats are expected to vote against the nomination, though Republicans still have enough votes to confirm Barrett. On Thursday, the Senate Judiciary Committee advanced the nomination to the full chamber, over the boycott of Democratic committee members, who put in their seats pictures of individuals affected by the Affordable Care Act.

Unable to stop the confirmation, Democrats have resorted to theatrical tactics instead to spotlight their anger. Democratic senators on Friday forced a rare closed session so members could privately discuss their concerns about the process.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said he wanted the closed session in order to have a “candid conversation” about the push to confirm the nomination.

“I believe the Senate majority is on the precipice of making a colossal and historic mistake by rushing this nomination through the Senate only eight days before a national election,” Schumer said in a floor speech before making the motion to employ the extraordinary move.

Barrett’s confirmation proceedings will amount to one of the quickest for a Supreme Court nominee in modern times — just more than a month since she was chosen to fill the seat of the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg — and comes despite the GOP refusing to even have a hearing for President Barack Obama’s pick in 2016 because they argued it was too close to the election.

But Republicans, arguing the situation is different now with the GOP in control of both the White House and the Senate, have rallied behind Barrett in their push to shift the court further to the right. If confirmed, Barrett would give the court a 6-3 conservative majority, a shift that could usher in sweeping changes to health care, abortion, voting and gun rights.

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