Murkowski says she will vote to confirm Barrett to Supreme Court on Monday
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) said on Saturday that she will vote to confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett 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 Kavanaugh 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 Collins (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 Trump. 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.
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