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Amy Coney Barrett confirmation - Senate set to confirm Trump pick for Supreme Court week before election

Follow the latest updates

Oliver O'Connell
Monday 26 October 2020 16:31
Donald Trump unveils Supreme Court pick Amy Coney Barrett

With just one week before the election on 3 November, adding Judge Barrett to the court will make it the most conservative it has been since the 1930s.

A vote is expected sometime after 6.30pm ET — 30 hours after the upper chamber of Congress voted to limit debate on the nomination. 

An outdoor swearing-in ceremony is planned at the White House at 9pm.

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Good morning and welcome to our rolling coverage of the confirmation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the United States Supreme Court.

A Senate vote is expected this evening, with Judge Barrett to be sworn in soon afterwards.

Stay tuned as we bring you the latest developments and background analysis on this momentous shift in the future of the nation’s highest court.

Oliver O'Connell26 October 2020 13:53

Last Republican holdout announced support over weekend

Judge Barrett won crucial backing  when one of the last Republican holdouts against filling the seat so close to Election Day announced support ahead of Monday’s confirmation vote.

Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, declared her support on Saturday during a rare weekend Senate session as Republicans race to confirm Barrett before Election Day. 

Only one Republican, Senator Susan Collins of Maine, is now expected to vote against the conservative judge.

Senator Murkowski voted no on the procedural vote to move forward on Sunday, but will still vote to confirm Judge Barrett. 

“While I oppose the process that has led us to this point, I do not hold it against her,” Murkowski said.

Amy Coney Barrett wins crucial backing for Supreme Court confirmation as last Republican announces support

Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett won crucial backing  when one of the last Republican holdouts against filling the seat so close to Election Day announced support ahead of a confirmation vote expected Monday

Oliver O'Connell26 October 2020 14:14

Democrats show defiance with ‘digital filibuster’

With little remaining hope of blocking Judge Barrett’s confirmation to the court, and her replacing Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Democrats announced a symbolic show of defiance.

Unlike an actual filibuster, which slows proceedings and can make an unpopular bill run out of time and therefore be blocked, the digital filibuster will not affect the outcome, but will serve instead as a reminder of the strong sentiment against her confirmation.

Democrats planning 30-hour 'digital filibuster' to try to stop Amy Coney Barrett being confirmed

Senators including Kamala Harris and Chuck Schumer will deliver messages as part of a campaign of protest against the woman set to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg at the Supreme Court

Oliver O'Connell26 October 2020 14:23

Democrats boycotted judiciary committee vote

Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee did not attend the meeting on Thursday, after Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called the hearings and confirmation a “sham process” that undermines the legitimacy of the court.

Republicans vote to send Amy Coney Barrett's Supreme Court confirmation to Senate amid Democrats' boycott

GOP-controlled body set to confirm Donald Trump’s latest justice to the high court a week before Election Day

Oliver O'Connell26 October 2020 14:35

Democrats’ only recourse: Election Day

With no ability to stop Barrett's ascent, Democrats are trying to turn voters against the nomination by making the case that she could strike down the Affordable Care Act and roll back abortion rights. In four days of hearings last week, they spent much of their questioning focused on those two issues.

Democrats have also argued that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s decision to move forward on Barrett’s nomination after the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in September is “hypocrisy” after Republicans refused to consider President Barack Obama’s nominee, Judge Merrick Garland, several months before the 2016 election. Republicans say the difference is that the White House and Senate are now controlled by the same party.


Oliver O'Connell26 October 2020 14:51

When would Justice Barrett start work on the court?

One of Justice Barrett’s first acts could be to attend a private telephone conference of the justices on 30 October. Oral arguments at the court resume on 2 November and they being done over the phone through at least through December because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The court already has eight cases on the calendar for the first two weeks of November, including one on 4 November, the day after the presidential election, that’s a test of religious rights, a dispute over a Philadelphia Catholic agency that won’t place foster children with same-sex couples.

The following week the justices will hear a challenge to the Obama-era Affordable Care Act. Democrats made that case central to their argument against Barrett, warning she could be a vote to strike down the law. Barrett said she couldn't comment on the case, but emphasised that she is not on a “mission to destroy the Affordable Care Act.”

Barrett would also be part of any court decisions related to the presidential election, unless she recused herself from them.


Oliver O'Connell26 October 2020 15:05

What does this mean for the campaign?

It is unclear whether Barrett’s confirmation will help or hurt either Donald Trump or Joe Biden in the presidential contest. The confirmation vote will be held eight days before the 3 November election, which is without precedent.

Republicans are defending 25 of the 38 Senate seats that are on the ballot this year, and most of their vulnerable members have embraced Barrett in an effort to bolster their standing with conservatives. Cory Gardner in Colorado, Martha McSally in Arizona, Joni Ernst in Iowa, Kelly Loeffler in Georgia, John Cornyn in Texas and Thom Tillis in North Carolina quickly rallied to Trump’s pick and called for a quick confirmation.

Another senator in a tight race, Susan Collins, opposed an immediate vote and said the next president should decide who replaces Ginsburg.


Oliver O'Connell26 October 2020 15:22

Why Justice Amy Coney Barrett could be a disaster for the fight against the climate crisis

"I mean, I’ve read things about climate change. I would not say that I have firm views on it," Supreme Court nominee, Amy Coney Barrett, said at her confirmation hearing. 

Louise Boyle reports.

Amy Coney Barrett calls climate change ‘contentious’. Why that could be catastrophic for fighting the crisis

 ‘I mean, I’ve read things about climate change. I would not say that I have firm views on it,’ Supreme Court nominee, Amy Coney Barrett, said this week

Oliver O'Connell26 October 2020 15:36

‘Moral relativism’ should rule her out of Supreme Court seat, says Catholic newspaper

The National Catholic Reporter, a progressive-leaning newspaper, came out against the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett in a scathing editorial, saying her “moral relativism" should rule her out for a Supreme Court seat.

In the editorial, the staff of the National Catholic Reporter called for the United States Senate to reject Ms Barrett’s nomination based on her responses during her hearings about the climate crisis, as well as how the Senate treated an open Supreme Court seat after Justice Antonin Scalia died in 2016.

Danielle Zoellner reports.

Oliver O'Connell26 October 2020 15:54

‘Sad and furious’ 

Oliver O'Connell26 October 2020 16:09

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