The Slatest

Republicans Bulldoze Senate Rules to Advance Amy Coney Barrett Supreme Court Nomination

Lee, standing, leans in to speak with Graham, seated
Mike Lee and Chairman Lindsey Graham at a Senate Judiciary Committee meeting on Capitol Hill on Thursday. Senate Republicans voted Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination out of committee despite Democrats’ boycott. Pool/Getty Images

Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee voted Thursday morning to advance the Supreme Court nomination of Amy Coney Barrett out of committee to the full Senate. The move sets up a confirmation vote next week, just a week before Election Day. All 12 Republicans on the panel voted in favor of the Trump nominee, while the 10 Democrats on the committee boycotted the vote in protest of the GOP ramming the nomination process home in the final days of Trump’s term. While the Democrats’ absence is ultimately symbolic, it did force committee Chairman Lindsey Graham to bulldoze the committee’s quorum rules, which require a majority of the committee and at least two members of the minority to be present to vote a nomination out of committee.

“That was their choice,” the South Carolina Republican said of the Democrats’ absence. “It will be my choice to vote the nominee out of committee. We’re not going to allow them to take over the committee.” The boycott may not derail Barrett’s nomination, but it does hammer home the point that the Republican Party, as currently constructed, will stop at nothing to entrench itself while clinging to minority rule. It was, of course, Graham who put his personal credibility and integrity on the line during the GOP’s refusal to even consider President Barack Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to fill Antonin Scalia’s seat.

“I want you to use my words against me. If there’s a Republican president in 2016 and a vacancy occurs in the last year of the first term, you can say Lindsey Graham said, ‘Let’s let the next president, whoever it might be, make that nomination,’ ” Graham said in 2016 as part of the effort to block Garland’s ascension to the court. “And you could use my words against me and you’d be absolutely right.”

Merrick Garland’s nomination languished in the Senate for 293 days because “the election was near.” Now, the GOP intends to confirm Amy Coney Barrett eight days before the election.