The Slatest

Murkowski Shifts Stance, Says She Will Vote to Confirm Barrett to Supreme Court

Senator Lisa Murkowski(R-AK) asks a question during a committee hearing in Washington, D.C. on Sept. 23, 2020.
Senator Lisa Murkowski(R-AK) asks a question during a committee hearing in Washington, D.C. on Sept. 23, 2020. ALEX EDELMAN/Getty Images

Sen. Lisa Murkowski is going along with her party in the end. The Republican senator from Alaska who had publicly opposed confirming a new Supreme Court justice before the election, said Saturday she will be voting in favor of Judge Amy Coney Barrett. During a speech on the Senate floor, the senator said that while she opposed the way her colleagues have gone about the confirmation process, she still likes the judge President Donald Trump nominated. “While I oppose the process that has led us to this point,” Murkowski said, “I do not hold it against her as an individual who has navigated the gauntlet with grace, skill and humility.”

Murkowski will be voting no on a procedural vote on Sunday to move the nomination forward, a move designed to make her displeasure clear. “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 she will end up voting to confirm Barrett on Monday. That is because Barrett is “the sort of person we want on the Supreme Court,” she said. Murkowski, who generally supports abortion rights, said she had a “lengthy one-on-one” with Barrett on a number of issues, including Roe v. Wade. Although she didn’t reveal specifics, Murkowski said she doesn’t “believe Judge Barrett will take her seat on the bench with a predetermined agenda.”

The shift in position is a big boost for Trump’s nominee. Although Republicans already had the votes to confirm her without Murkowski, it means only one Republican, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, will vote against Barrett.

It seems Murkowski didn’t want a repeat of 2018, when she faced a lot of backlash from Republicans as she became the only Republican to oppose Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court. Trump called her opposition “disgraceful” and said he was “shocked” by her vote.