Dems reportedly planning boycott of Amy Coney Barrett’s SCOTUS nomination

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Senate Democrats are reportedly planning how to thwart the confirmation process of Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Court nomination.

With the Senate Judiciary Committee set to vote Thursday on proceeding with President Donald Trump’s nominee, Democrats on the panel are planning to follow through on a boycott as a form of protest to what they claim is a “sham process” by Republicans to fill the seat vacated by the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Democrats plan to hold two press conferences on Thursday rather than participate in the committee vote leading up to Barrett’s confirmation vote scheduled for next week. To report a nomination to the Senate floor, 12 members of the Judiciary Committee must be present, according to the panel’s rules. Even without Democrats voting, Republicans will likely have no problem meeting the minimum requirement though committee rules require the presence of two members of the minority party.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer slammed Republicans in a floor speech, saying they “defiled” the Senate and accusing them of “rank hypocrisy” in moving ahead with Barrett’s confirmation.

“Throughout the hearings last week, committee Democrats demonstrated the damage a Justice Barrett would do – to health care, reproductive freedoms, the ability to vote, and other core rights that Americans cherish,” Schumer said in a joint statement with Senate Judiciary Committee Democrats.

“We will not grant this process any further legitimacy by participating in a committee markup of this nomination just twelve days before the culmination of an election that is already underway,” they announced.

But Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham was not ruffled by his colleagues’ threats.

“I will move forward,” he said Wednesday. “She deserves a vote.”

“As to my Democratic colleagues’ refusal to attend the markup, that is a choice they are making. I believe it does a disservice to Judge Barrett who deserves a vote, up or down,” the South Carolina Republican said in a statement.

“The nomination process took a dark turn in 2013 when the Democrats changed the rules of the Senate for District and Circuit court nominees requiring a simple majority vote. My Democratic colleagues chose to engage in a partisan filibuster of Justice [Neil] Gorsuch for the first time in U.S. history requiring the changing of the rules regarding Supreme Court nominations,” Graham added.

A full Senate vote on the nomination is expected on Monday and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has indicated that he is set to move ahead. But Schumer, responding to Graham’s statement, said Democrats are essentially digging in their heels.

“We’re not giving the quorum they need to provide it. The rules require it,” the New York Democrat said.

Democrats have been under pressure by progressives in the party decrying Barrett’s confirmation process which they see as being rushed by the GOP to confirm the woman currently serving as judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.

They also slammed Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., for daring to give Graham a hug at the end of the final day of testimony in Barrett’s hearings last week. Schumer later announced he had had a “serious talk” with Feinstein, the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Despite days of contentious hearings with Barrett as Democrats grilled her over her faith and judicial record, polls show that most agree she fared well and is a qualified candidate. A new Politico/Morning Consult poll indicated that 51 percent of voters surveyed believe the Senate should vote to confirm her nomination.

“A slim majority of voters now back Senate confirmation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court — a level of support that has increased by double digits since President Trump nominated her last month,” Kyle Dropp, co-founder and president of Morning Consult, said.

Democrats were criticized for their attempts to derail Barrett’s nomination and for continuing to play politics with the process.

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Frieda Powers

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