Murkowski announces intended Coney Barrett vote on Senate floor in rare Saturday session

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With the Senate working through the weekend, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell remains on track to fulfill his vow that the upper chamber will by voting to confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett on Monday.

The Republican leader from Kentucky declared recently that he has the votes to pass Barrett’s confirmation, and that count has since grown by one.

 

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Ala., announced from the Senate floor that she will support Barrett’s confirmation.

“I will be a yes,” the moderate Republican said Saturday. “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 — and to do it well.”

Murkowski is opposed to the Senate taking up a Supreme Court nominee to replace the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg so close to the election and said in her floor speech she lost that procedural fight and will evaluate Barrett on her qualifications to the bench.

There will be a procedural vote on Sunday, followed by 30 additional hours to debate Barrett’s nomination before the final vote on Monday.

Typical of Murkowski, she will vote no on the effort to advance Barrett’s nomination, but won’t hold the process she opposes against Barrett when voting to confirm.

“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,” she explained. “And so when we do that, when that final question comes before us. And when it does I will be a yes.”

“I do not hold it against her as an individual who has navigated the gauntlet with grace, skill and humility,” Murkowski added. “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 said she has “concluded that [Barrett] is the sort of person we want on the Supreme Court.”

McConnell could lose up to four Republicans and still pass Barrett’s confirmation. As it stands, only Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, has said she will vote no.

The vote is expected late Monday, just eight days before election day.

Democrats cannot stop the process, but that didn’t prevent Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer from trying to force a rare closed session on Friday to have a “candid conversation” about the confirmation push.

“I believe the Senate majority is on the precipice of making a colossal and historic mistake by rushing this nomination through the Senate eight days before a national election,” Schumer said from the floor, in what amounted to political theater.

The only remaining question is will Democrats drop a bombshell allegation against Judge Barrett at the very last minute, as they did with now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

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Tom Tillison

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