Vice President Mike Pence would typically preside over the coming votes, but after a close aide tested positive for the COVID-19, it was unclear whether he will fulfill his role for the landmark vote.
Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said the Trump administration’s drive to install Barrett during the coronavirus crisis shows “the Republican Party is willing to ignore the pandemic in order to rush this nominee forward.”
The conservative judge picked up the crucial backing Saturday from Murkowski, one of the last GOP holdouts against filling the seat in the midst of a White House election and with more than 50 million people already having voted.
Murkowski said she disliked the rush toward confirmation, but supported Trump’s choice of Barrett for the high court. She said would vote against the procedural steps, but ultimately join GOP colleagues in confirming Barrett. “While I oppose the process that has led us to this point, I do not hold it against her,” Murkowski said.
Now the only Republican expected to vote against Barrett is Collins, who faces a tight reelection in Maine. She has said she won’t vote for the nominee so close to the election.
McConnell, R-Ky., noted the political rancor, but defended his handling of the process. He scoffed at the Democrats’ “horror stories” about the judge’s conservative qualifications.
Barrett, 48, presented herself in public testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee as a neutral arbiter and at one point suggested, “It’s not the law of Amy.” But Barrett’s past writings against abortion and a ruling on “Obamacare” show a deeply conservative thinker.