It’s all but a done deal. The Senate voted Sunday to end debate on the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. Having cleared the key procedural step leaves the door open for the final vote that is expected Monday evening, meaning the 48-year-old judge is all but certain to become the next Supreme Court justice a little over a week before Election Day. In a rare Sunday session, senators voted largely along party lines—51 to 48—to move forward with the nomination. Sen. Kamala Harris wasn’t present for the vote, and the only Republicans who voted against the measure were Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine. Murkowski had already said that while she opposes the rushed process, she will be voting in favor of Barrett’s confirmation.
After the expected vote on Monday night, Barrett could have her first full day as justice as early as Tuesday, meaning she will be on the bench to hear any legal challenges related to the Nov. 3 election. Republican leaders were not shy about celebrating the vote Sunday that cements a conservative-leaning Supreme Court that could last decades. Barrett is Trump’s third nominee to the Supreme Court and would give the court a 6-to-3 conservative majority. “We made an important contribution to the future of this country,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said. “A lot of what we’ve done over the last four years will be undone sooner or later by the next election. They won’t be able to do much about this for a long time to come.”
Vice President Mike Pence said Saturday night he will be at the confirmation vote on Monday. “As vice president, I’m president of the Senate. And I’m going to be in the chair because I wouldn’t miss that vote for the world,” Pence said. “Come this Monday night, Judge Amy Coney Barrett is going to be Justice Amy Coney Barrett. We’re going to fill that seat.” Pence made the promise during a campaign rally in Tallahassee, Florida, shortly before it was revealed that several members of his staff have been diagnosed with COVID-19 recently.
Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer used the opportunity to criticize the White House and how it has dealt with the coronavirus pandemic. “The vice president, who’s been exposed to five people with COVID-19, will ignore CDC guidelines to be here tomorrow, putting the health of everyone who works in this building at risk,” Schumer said. “It sets a terrible, terrible example for the American people, and nothing could be more a metaphor for what’s going on here.”