WASHINGTON (AP) —Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Court nomination cleared a key hurdle Thursday as Senate Judiciary Committee Republicans powered past Democrats’ objections in the drive to confirm President Donald Trump’s pick before the Nov. 3 election.
The panel set Oct. 22 for its vote to recommend Barrett’s nomination to the full Senate for a final vote by month’s end.
“A sham,” said Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn. “Power grab,” decried Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn. “Not normal,” said Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill.
“You don’t convene a Supreme Court confirmation hearing, in the middle of a pandemic, when the Senate’s on recess, when voting has already started in the presidential election in a majority of states,” declared Sen. Chris Coon, D-Del.
But Republicans countered that Trump is well within bounds as president to fill the court vacancy, and the GOP-held Senate has the votes to push Trump’s nominee to confirmation.
Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said he understands Democrats’ “disappointment, but I think their loss is the American people’s gain.”
Barrett’s confirmation to take the seat of the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is poised to lock a conservative majority on the court for years to come.
The shift would cement a 6-3 court in the most pronounced ideological change in 30 years, from the liberal icon to the conservative appeals court judge.