Crime & Justice

Trump’s Supreme Court pick poised for confirmation 8 days ahead of election

Washington, Oct 20 (efe-epa).- The US Senate will vote Oct. 26 on whether to confirm Amy Coney Barrett, President Donald Trump’s nominee to fill the Supreme Court vacancy created by the death last month of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the leader of the Republican majority in the chamber said Tuesday.

“We’ll be voting to confirm justice-to-be Barrett next Monday,” Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell said at a press conference.

“I think that will be another signature accomplishment in our effort to put on the courts, the federal courts, men and women that believe in the quaint notion that maybe the job of a judge is to actually follow the law,” he added.

National polls show that Democrat Joe Biden is likely to defeat Trump in the Nov. 3 election.

Republicans hold 53 of the Senate’s 100 seats and need only 51 votes to confirm Barrett, a 48-year-old appeals court judge.

So far, only one GOP senator, Susan Collins of Maine, has declared an intention to vote against the nominee based on the principle that Ginsburg’s successor should be chosen by the winner of the presidential contest.

Among her colleagues, Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski has also expressed unease over moving forward with the nomination so close to the election, but she has given no indication on how she will vote.

Republicans could afford as many as three defections, as Vice President Mike Pence would be available to cast the 51st vote if needed.

The Senate Judiciary Committee is to vote Thursday on sending Barrett’s nomination to the floor for approval.

On Friday, McConnell has scheduled a vote on a motion that would allow the Senate to set aside all other business for two days to focus on the nomination.

Another procedural vote is planned for Sunday, to be followed by debate ahead of the decisive vote on the nominee.

Democrats describe the entire process as illegitimate, pointing to the events of 2016, when McConnell led the Republicans in refusing to even consider then-President Barack Obama’s nominee to fill the seat left vacant by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.

McConnell insisted then that choosing Scalia’s replacement should be left to the winner of that year’s presidential contest pitting Trump against Hillary Clinton.

While Democrats cry foul, the Kentucky lawmaker says that the circumstances are different from 2016 because the same party now controls both the White House and the Senate.

Last week, Barrett underwent two days of questioning before the committee that produced no new insights into how she might rule on issues such as abortion or a disputed election.

The former law professor, who became a federal appellate judge in 2017, said that she would “apply the law as the law.”

“I have made no commitment to anyone, not in the Senate, not over at the White House, about how I would decide any case,” she said during last Tuesday’s session.

Barrett is a conservative and a devout Catholic and several of the Democrats sought to draw her out on the issue of the 1973 Supreme Court ruling in Roe v. Wade, which made abortion legal in the United States.

The nominee, who in 2006 signed an add decrying the “barbaric legacy” of Roe v. Wade, declined to say whether she thought the court ruled correctly or not in the landmark abortion rights case.

Barrett also demurred when Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy, pointing to Trump’s affirmation that he wanted to fill the seat on the Supreme Court to prevent the Democrats from “stealing” the election, asked if she would recuse herself if a dispute over the ballot reached the court. EFE

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