GOP Sen. Murkowski still thinks Supreme Court seat should wait, but will vote to confirm Amy Coney Barrett

Nicholas Wu, USA TODAY
·2 min read

WASHINGTON – Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, who had previously said she opposed the Senate’s consideration of a Supreme Court nominee before Election Day, announced on the Senate floor Saturday she would continue her opposition to moving forward on Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination, but would ultimately vote to confirm her.

The Alaska Republican drew a distinction between her opposition to the process and her support for Barrett’s confirmation, saying she was following the "precedent that I have set for myself" after Republicans opposed President Barack Obama’s 2016 nomination of Judge Merrick Garland by calling for the nomination to wait until after the voters cast their ballots on Nov. 3.

But the decision to confirm or reject Barrett was different, Murkowski said.

"At the end of the process is the substantive question of whether Judge Barrett should be categorically rejected," she said.

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And Murkowski concluded Barrett was in fact "the sort of person that we want on the Supreme Court," citing her writing, her "intellectual curiosity," and conversations with Barrett.

Murkowski criticized both Democrats and Republicans for their conduct during the confirmation process. She said she recognized the timing of the confirmation vote about a week before Election Day would "serve to reinforce the public perception about political influence on the court." But also denouncing threats from progressives to add seats to the Supreme Court or end the legislative filibuster.

Murkowski’s decision means Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, will likely be the only Senate Republican to vote against Barrett’s nomination when it comes up for a final vote.

The 53-47 partisan split of the Senate means that the decisions of Collins and Murkowski would not have affected the final outcome. Both a key procedural vote to limit debate on Sunday and the final confirmation vote on Monday only require a simple majority.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Supreme Court: Lisa Murkowski will vote to confirm Amy Coney Barrett