Amy Coney Barrett set to be confirmed to Supreme Court a week before election as McConnell sees off Democrat blockade
AMY Coney Barrett is to be confirmed to join the Supreme Court a week before the US presidential election.
Despite Democratic efforts to stall President Donald Trump’s nominee, the Senate is poised for a rare weekend session to advance her.
The Democrats mounted time-consuming procedural hurdles on Friday, reports the Associated Press (AP).
But the party has no realistic chance of stopping Barrett’s controversial advance in the Republican-controlled chamber.
Federal appeals court judge Barrett, 48, is expected to be confirmed on Monday and quickly join the court.
Her addition will cement a conservative majority a week before Election Day on November 3.
Angry Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of New York warned Republicans that they were making a “colossal and historic mistake".
But the Republicans merely shrugged off his concerns.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell praised Barrett as an “extraordinary” nominee and defended her quick confirmation.
He said: “We will give this nominee the vote she deserves no later than Monday."
Schumer slammed it as the “least legitimate process in the country’s history”.
And he forced procedural steps, including an unusual private Senate session, in hopes of swaying the Republicans.
However Sen. John Cornyn, (R-Texas), dismissed the stall tactics as “frivolous".
At the start of Trump’s presidency, McConnell engineered a Senate rules change to allow confirmation by a majority of the 100 senators.
This was instead of the 60-vote threshold traditionally needed to advance high court nominees over objections.
With a 53-47 Republican majority, Barrett’s confirmation on October 26 is almost certain.
Most Republicans are supporting Barrett’s confirmation.
Only Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine has said she won’t vote for a nominee so close to the presidential election.
Democrats have continued to decry the “sham” process.
They've also warned that Barrett would undo much of what was accomplished by the much-loved Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg – the liberal icon who died last month.
During public testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee Barrett presented herself as a neutral arbiter of cases on abortion, the Affordable Care Act and presidential power.
At one point she suggested, “it’s not the law of Amy".
But her past writings against abortion and a ruling on the Obama-era health care law show a deeply conservative thinker, says AP.
Trump said this week he is hopeful the Supreme Court will undo the health law when the justices take up a challenge November 10, the week after the election.
On Thursday, the Senate Judiciary Committee Republicans powered past a Democratic boycott to advance Barrett’s Supreme Court nomination to the full Senate.
A thrilled Trump tweeted after the committee vote to progress the appellate court judge from Indiana: “Big day for America."
During the Senate committee meeting, protesters – some shouting “Stop the confirmation" – demonstrated outside the Capitol across the street from the Supreme Court.
Some dressed as handmaids, a reference to Barrett’s role in a conservative religious group that once called high-ranking women members “handmaids.”
Other demonstrators had “#SupportAmy” signs.
The fast-track confirmation process is like none other in US history so close to a presidential election.
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