Senate committee OKs Amy Coney Barrett. Here's what happens next in her Supreme Court confirmation

Christal Hayes, USA TODAY
·4 min read

WASHINGTON – The Senate panel charged with vetting Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Court nomination voted to approve her Thursday, an important step in her confirmation to the high court.

The Senate Judiciary Committee's 12 Republican members approved her nomination in a 12-0 vote, setting up a final vote Monday before the full Senate.

But it wasn’t without drama. Democrats boycotted the hearing, hoping to stall the process by withholding a quorum. The panel’s rules dictate that at least two members of the minority – in this case Democrats – needed to be present to approve her nomination, but Republicans cast aside the effort and voted without them.

The vote came one week after Barrett's confirmation hearings, during which she faced hours of intense questioning by senators on a host of controversial issues, including the Affordable Care Act, abortion and voting rights.

But Barrett’s confirmation is still not across the finish line.

Here’s what happens next and when Barrett is expected to start serving as the Supreme Court’s ninth justice.

Barrett nomination moves forward: Senate Judiciary Committee approves Amy Coney Barrett's nomination to the Supreme Court, full Senate vote on Monday

Full Senate vote on Monday – 8 days before election

The full Senate plans to vote on Barrett’s confirmation to the Supreme Court on Monday, likely allowing Barrett to take her place as the ninth justice just days before Election Day.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell outlined a schedule at his weekly news conference Tuesday that would leave the Senate in session over the weekend to debate her confirmation before voting on Monday.

“We'll be voting to confirm justice-to-be Barrett next Monday,” the Kentucky Republican said. "And I think that will be another signature accomplishment in our effort to put on the courts, the federal courts, men and women who believe in a quaint notion that maybe the job of a judge is to actually follow the law.”

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McConnell plans to take up Barrett's confirmation Friday, setting up two days of debate over the weekend, a procedural vote on Sunday and a final vote by the chamber on Monday – eight days before the election.

Democrats are expected to employ a variety of procedural tactics ahead of Monday’s vote, but they have acknowledged they cannot block what appears to be Barrett's inevitable confirmation.

A simple majority of the 100-member chamber will have to vote in favor of her nomination for Barrett to be sworn in as the Supreme Court’s ninth justice. Republicans outnumber Democrats 53 - 47 in the Senate. Only two Republicans, Sens. Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski, have voiced opposition to the Senate taking up Barrett’s confirmation ahead of the election, not enough to block the proceedings.

The swearing-in

Should the Senate vote to confirm Barrett, she will be sworn in as the Supreme Court’s ninth justice, giving conservatives on the court a 6-3 advantage.

Barrett is required to take two oaths before she can officially serve on the high court and she could take these in a variety of ways. Typically, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts will swear in a new associate justice and a ceremonial service is held at the White House.

The last addition to the Supreme Court – Brett Kavanaugh – was sworn in by Roberts just hours after the Senate confirmed his nomination. Since the high court was in the middle of its term, the quick process allowed Kavanaugh to begin work immediately.

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The same could happen with Barrett as the court has a busy schedule in the days ahead.

The court will be in session starting Nov. 2 and will hear a case concerning the LGBTQ community and religious freedoms, along with a highly anticipated case that could decide the future of the Affordable Care Act. The Obama-era health care law was the main focus of Democrats' questioning during confirmation hearings. Democrats fear Barrett's appointment could upend the law, and with it, the health care of millions.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Amy Coney Barrett: What happens next in her Supreme Court confirmation