While majority of the Senate is Republican, that doesn’t mean that confirming Amy Coney Barrett will be any easier for President Trump or his party. There appears to be some rift inside the party as Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski has opposed President Trump and several of his policies. Now, in a turn of events, Murkowski says she will in fact
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) will vote to confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday after expressing her opposition to an election-year confirmation. “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.” Murkowski said in a Senate floor speech Saturday.
While the Alaska Republican wouldn’t say explicitly that she will vote against Barrett, she did affirm her belief that now is the wrong time for a confirmation. “I’ve shared for a while that I didn’t think we should be taking this up until after the election, and I haven’t changed,” Murkowski said. Asked if that means she’s a ‘no’
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) is not ruling out voting on President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court pick to fill the seat left vacant by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. “I know everybody wants to ask the question, ‘Will you confirm the nominee?'” Murkowski said on Tuesday. She added, “We don’t have a nominee yet. You and I don’t know who that is. And so I can’t confirm whether or not I can confirm a nominee when I don’t know who the nominee is.” While she is not ruling out voting on Trump’s nominee, she reiterated she does not support a confirmation ahead of the upcoming November election. “I do not support this process moving forward. Now, having said that, this process is moving forward with or without me,” Murkowski said. She continued, “If I had felt that there was a rush to move this through because you’re up against a deadline that is hard and fast, like an election, and that a nominee had not been thoroughly and fairly evaluated through our process, then I’m going to have to look at that.” Murkowski’s comments come just days after she released a statement to voice her disapproval of taking up a potential Supreme Court vacancy this close to the election, as IJR previously reported. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) similarly voiced her concern with filling the seat prior to the election. She made it clear in her statement she believes the seat should be filled by the next president. Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) — who has been critical of Trump in the past — said he will support holding a vote on Trump’s potential pick, as IJR previously reported. “I intend to follow the Constitution and precedent in considering the president’s nominee. If the nominee reaches the Senate floor, I intend to vote based upon their qualifications,” Romney said. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) claimed Republicans have enough votes to confirm Ginsburg’s replacement.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) is making it clear she does not approve of taking up a Supreme Court nomination ahead of the November presidential election. “For weeks, I have stated that I would not support taking up a potential Supreme Court vacancy this close to the election. Sadly, what was then a hypothetical is now our reality, but my position has not changed,” Murkowski said in a statement. She added, “I did not support taking up a nomination eight months before the 2016 election to fill the vacancy created by the passing of Justice Scalia. We are now even closer to the 2020 election – less than two months out – and I believe the same standard must apply.” Here’s the full Sen. @lisamurkowski statement: pic.twitter.com/jlzOsTqSNp — Phil Mattingly (@Phil_Mattingly) September 20, 2020 Murkowski is not the only key Republican senator to oppose filling the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s seat before the election. In a statement released on Saturday, Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) stressed the seat should be filled by the next president. “In order for the American people to have faith in their elected officials, we must act fairly and consistently- no matter which political party is in power. President Trump has the constitutional authority to make a nomination to fill the Supreme Court vacancy, and I would have no objection to the Senate Judiciary Committee’s beginning the process of reviewing his nominee’s credentials,” Collins said. She continued, “Given the proximity of the presidential election, however, I do not believe that the Senate should vote on the nominee prior to the election. In fairness to the American people, who will either be re-electing the president or selecting a new one, the decision on a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court should be made by the President who is elected on November 3rd.” My statement on the Supreme Court vacancy: pic.twitter.com/jvYyDN5gG4 — Sen. Susan Collins (@SenatorCollins) September 19, 2020 The Supreme Court announced the death of Ginsburg on Friday. Ginsburg’s wish before her death was that she “will not be replaced until a new president is installed.”
Democrats are using big talk to prepare for their fight against a Supreme Court Justice confirmation with President Trump claiming he will nominate a replacement for Ruth Bader Ginsburg this week. But they do not have very many options available to them. One interesting gambit would be a quorum call which would essentially shut down the Senate for as long as they could stay hidden. This option would be in play if they could only get three Republicans to openly oppose a Supreme Court nominee and one more who is sympathetic but unwilling to vote against. To have a quorum, 51 Senators are required. That means if all 47 Democratic Senators are missing, they would need three Republicans to be out as well. Susan Collins has expressed her unwillingness to vote. Mitt Romney and Lisa Murkowski have hinted that they will not vote for a Trump-nominated Justice before the election. In the past, Chuck Grassley and Lindsey Graham have said they want the next Justice to be voted on after the election, though Graham has said he will now vote for one. Lamar Alexander and Pat Roberts are both retiring and could be swayed to oppose a vote. Cory Gardner is vulnerable in his election and has not made a clear statement on which way he leans. That means three Republican Senators are very likely against the President picking a Ginsburg replacement before the election with five potential flips. Democrats need a total of four. Quorum requires 51 Senators in the chamber, but one needs to be there to have a quorum call or roll call vote. Otherwise, the presence of 50 or fewer Senators will not be recorded and quorum will be assumed. Vice President Mike Pence counts as the tie-breaker vote, but he does not count during a quorum call. If all Democrats plus three Republicans hide until after the election, at least one person in the chamber would need to call for quorum. In essence, Democrats need four Republicans to be in on the gambit for it to be successful. If it happens and all votes are blocked, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would have to ask the Sergeant at Arms to compel a Senator to come to the chambers. To review, Democrats need three Republicans to stay out of the Senate chambers plus one more Republican to make a quorum call from within the chambers. All 50 opposition Senators would then have to go into hiding, avoiding the Sergeant at Arms and any law enforcement officers tasked with locating them. If they are successful, the Senate would be shut down until at least one who is in hiding is found and brought to the chamber. This may seem like a lot of hassle to block a vote, but it may be easier to get one of the on-the-fence Republicans to call for quorum than to vote against the nomination. Assuming Romney, Collins, and Murkowski are the only Republicans willing to actively vote against the nominee, having a sympathetic Senator calling for quorum may be easier than getting them to vote against a constitutional conservative nominee. It would be procedural versus outright opposition, which may be enough to push Grassley, Alexander, or Roberts to participate in the gambit. Having a 4-4 split in the Supreme Court going into what is almost certainly going to be a very contentious and legally challenged election is, as Ted Cruz noted, a potential constitutional crisis. “We cannot let Election Day come and go and with a 4-4 court,” he said. “We risk a constitutional crisis if we do not have a nine-justice Supreme Court, particularly when there is such a risk of a contested election.” Democrats have threatened every possible way to fight the nomination and confirmation of Ginsburg’s replacement. There’s an ultimate solution for Republicans, of course. 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