Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) said on the Senate floor Saturday that she doesn’t think confirming Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court “just over a week” ahead of a presidential election “will help our country become a better version of itself.” But by the end of her speech, the Alaska Republican seemed to change her tune.
According to The Hill, Murkowski said that she plans to vote to confirm President Donald Trump’s latest nominee to the Supreme Court on Monday, even though she disagrees with completing the confirmation process before Election Day on Nov. 3.
“I have no doubt about her intellect. I have no doubt about Judge Barrett’s judicial temperament. I have no doubt about her capability to do the job,” Murkowski said in her Senate floor speech Saturday, according to The Hill. “I have concluded that she is the sort of person we want on the Supreme Court.”
“Frankly, I’ve lost that procedural fight”
Murkowski initially opposed the idea of Trump naming a nominee because of the timing, but after Barrett was chosen, the senator said she was undecided on whether to vote for her confirmation.
After meeting with Barrett earlier this week and discussing issues like the Affordable Care Act, judicial precedent, and voting rights, it appears that Murkowski was persuaded that Barrett would be a good addition to the nation’s high court.
According to The Hill, Murkowski says she still plans to vote no on the procedural question of whether to move forward with the nomination. She admitted, however, “Frankly, I’ve lost that procedural fight.”
The Alaska senator said her confirmation vote would be based on Barrett’s qualifications and judicial philosophy, and that she doesn’t want to hold a process she disagrees with “against [Barrett] as an individual who has navigated the gauntlet with grace, skill, and humility.”
“I believe that the only way to put us back on the path of appropriate consideration of judicial nominees is to evaluate Judge Barrett as we would want to be judged, on the merits of her qualifications. And so when we do that, when that final question comes before us…I will be a yes,” Murkowski said, according to The Hill.
We need nine
With Murkowski’s yes vote on Barrett’s nomination, Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) is expected to be the only no vote from the Republican side of the aisle.
Collins declared soon after Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death in September that she would not vote to confirm a new justice before the election and has not indicated that she would change her position.
Murkowski, for her part, was the only senator to vote against now-Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation in 2018, after numerous accusations of sexual misconduct were made against him that were later found to have no evidence to support them.
Barrett’s confirmation could give conservatives the tie-breaking vote in cases related to the 2020 election that come before the Supreme Court, which is one reason why Republicans are determined to confirm her and why Democrats are so opposed to doing so. Already, a tie vote in the currently eight-member court has allowed changes to Pennsylvania mail-in ballot counting to stand that could open the door to massive vote fraud in that state.