While the Republicans are moving forward with their efforts to confirm Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court before the presidential election on November 3, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said that Democrats will do everything in their power to stop it. On Sunday (October 11) night, Schumer said that "Democrats will not supply the quorum" necessary to move her confirmation out of the Judiciary Committee. That vote is currently scheduled to occur on October 22.
In order to have a quorum, the committee must have nine members present, including two from the minority party.
If Democrats don't show up for the vote, the Senate still has options to move forward with Barrett's confirmation. The first option would be for the Judiciary Committee to eliminate the rule requiring two members of the minority party to be present. The other option would involve the Senate voting on a discharge resolution, which would allow the legislative body to bypass the committee and move forward with Barrett's confirmation.
Once Barrett's nomination is out of committee, there is almost nothing the Democrats can do to stop her from being confirmed by the Republican-controlled Senate.
Senators on the Judiciary Committee began Barrett's confirmation on Monday (October 12) morning by delivering their opening remarks. Republicans defended Barrett's credentials, while Democrats suggested that she could be the deciding vote that strikes down Obamacare.
"In filling judge Ginsburg's seat, the stakes are extraordinarily high for the American people, both in the short-term and for decades to come. Most importantly, healthcare coverage for millions of Americans is at stake with this nomination. So, over the course of these hearings, my colleagues and I will focus on that subject," California Dianne Feinstein said.
Utah Senator Mike Lee accused the Democrats of trying to politicize the Supreme Court by sowing fear and doubt.
"These tactics of creating fear and uncertainty and doubt ... astound me they dismay me, and they disappoint me," Lee said. "They reflect the fact that we have allowed for the politicization of the one branch of the federal government that is not political."
Barrett vowed to be independent in her opening statement, citing the judicial philosophy of her mentor, late Justice Antonin Scalia.
"Courts have a vital responsibility to enforce the rule of law, which is critical to a free society," Barrett said. "But courts are not designed to solve every problem or right every wrong in our public life. The policy decisions and value judgments of government must be made by the political branches elected by and accountable to the people. The public should not expect courts to do so, and courts should not try."
The hearing is scheduled to continue on Tuesday, when Senators will be given three days to question Barrett.
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