One of two Republican U.S. senators who had opposed the pre-election confirmation of President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Amy Coney Barrett, said on Saturday she would nevertheless vote to confirm Barrett.
Speaking on the floor of the U.S. Senate, Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska reiterated her opposition to the rushed confirmation process, which will culminate in a final vote on Monday, just over a week from Election Day.
“The timing of this confirmation that we have before us will serve to reinforce the public perception about political influence on the court,” she said. However, she said, “I have no doubt about her capability to do the job and to do it well.”
Murkowski’s support helps cement the near certainty that Barrett will take up a lifetime appointment on the bench over universal Democratic opposition. Republicans hold the Senate with a 53-47 majority, meaning at least four Republican senators would have had to break ranks to block Barrett’s confirmation.
Another Republican Senator, Susan Collins of Maine, has also said the Senate should not consider a nominee before the election between Trump and his Democratic rival, Joe Biden. Like Murkowski, Collins had voted on Friday against proceeding to a full Senate vote over Barrett’s confirmation.
Democrats were incensed that Senate Republicans moved forward with Barrett’s confirmation process so near an election after refusing in 2016 to allow the chamber to act on a Supreme Court nomination by Trump’s Democratic predecessor, Barack Obama, because it was an election year.
(Reporting by Julia Harte; Editing by Heather Timmons and Grant McCool)