Murkowski Says Senate Shouldn’t Move Forward With ACB Vote Before Election – but She’ll Vote to Confirm Her Anyway
Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiMcConnell tees up Barrett nomination, setting up rare weekend session Republicans advance Barrett’s Supreme Court nomination after Democrats boycott committee vote Democrats to boycott committee vote on Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Court nomination MORE (R-Alaska) said on Saturday that she will vote to confirm Judge Amy Coney BarrettAmy Coney BarrettFacebook, Twitter CEOs to testify before Senate Judiciary Committee on Nov. 17 Finger-pointing picks up in COVID-19 relief fight McConnell tees up Barrett nomination, setting up rare weekend session MORE to the Supreme Court on Monday, despite objections to taking up the nomination before the Nov. 3 election.
“I have no doubt about her intellect. I have no doubt about Judge Barrett’s judicial temperament. I have no doubt about her capability to do the job. … I have concluded that she is the sort of person we want on the Supreme Court,” Murkowski said from the Senate floor.
Murkowski, the only GOP senator to oppose then-nominee Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughCollins says running as Independent ‘crossed my mind’ Clean energy opportunities in a time of crisis Susan Collins and the American legacy MORE in 2018, was one of the last senators whose vote was in doubt.
Leadership indicated earlier Saturday that the moderate senator had privately told them what she intended to do, but Murkowski had kept her cards close to the vest after meeting with Barrett earlier this week. The two discussed, among other things, the Affordable Care Act, precedent and voting rights.
Murkowski, during her floor speech, reiterated that she does not believe Republicans should be holding a vote on Barrett before the Nov. 3 election. Murkowski voted against proceeding to the nomination on Friday and said she will oppose ending debate on Barrett’s nomination on Sunday.
“I do not believe that moving forward on a nominee just over a week removed from a pitched presidential election when partisan tensions are running about as high as they could … will help our country become a better version of itself,” Murkowski said.
But Murkowski added, “Frankly, I’ve lost that procedural fight” and said she was making a decision on confirming Barrett based on the judge’s legal philosophy.
“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 so when we do that, when that final question comes before us … I will be a yes,” Murkowski said.
“While I oppose the process that has led us to this point, I do not hold it against her as an individual who has navigated the gauntlet with grace, skill and humility. I will vote no on the procedural votes ahead of us but yes to confirm Judge Barrett when the question before us is her qualification to be an associate justice,” Murkowski added.
Murkowski’s decision makes Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsMcConnell tees up Barrett nomination, setting up rare weekend session Collins says running as Independent ‘crossed my mind’ Republicans advance Barrett’s Supreme Court nomination after Democrats boycott committee vote MORE (Maine) the only Republican senator expected to vote against Barrett.
Collins, like Murkowski, said she did not believe her party should take up a nominee before the election. Collins, who is facing a difficult reelection bid, has also vowed that she will oppose Barrett because the vote is happening before Nov. 3.
Murkowski, part of the Senate’s limited moderate faction, has been one of the Republican senators most willing to break with her caucus and President TrumpDonald John TrumpIvanka Trump, Jared Kusher’s lawyer threatens to sue Lincoln Project over Times Square billboards Facebook, Twitter CEOs to testify before Senate Judiciary Committee on Nov. 17 Sanders hits back at Trump’s attack on ‘socialized medicine’ MORE. In addition to opposing Kavanaugh, Murkowski was one of three GOP senators who opposed a GOP plan to repeal and replace ObamaCare.
Murkowski, on Saturday, voiced frustration with the debate over the Supreme Court, saying, “I just regret that we are in this place.”
“I have looked inward, considering in these difficult days what I believe is best for the institutions of our government, and I recognize that confirming this nominee is not going to heal. It’s not going to salve the wounds that these institutions have endured,” Murkowski said.
She then tipped her hand to the ongoing discussion among Democrats about nixing the legislative filibuster and expanding the Supreme Court if they win back the chamber.
“But neither will threats that should the balance of power in this chamber change everything is on the table,” Murkowski said.
Updated at 3:45 p.m.