Republican senators voted in bloc on Sunday to send Amy Coney Barrett's candidacy for U.S. Supreme Court justice at the confirmation stage, despite Democratic opposition and just over a presidential election week. The vote was 51 to 48.
Ms Barrett's appointment, which is due to be confirmed on Monday, has never been really in danger, as Republican senators, who have a majority in the Senate, have rallied behind the candidate chosen by President Donald Trump.
Democrats were prepared to stay in session until Sunday evening to slow down the process, since they believe it would be better to wait for the results of the November 3 election before filling the vacant seat on the Court since death of Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Republicans have the opportunity to appoint a third Supreme Court judge since President Trump took office, which will allow them to install a conservative majority on the country's highest court for several years.
Ms Barrett's appointment could be the starting point for a series of new decisions on abortion, same-sex marriage and health insurance. The validity ofAffordable Care Act, the health insurance program instituted by former President Barack Obama, must be analyzed by the Supreme Court from November 10.
Vice President Mike Pence was expected to preside over upcoming Senate sittings for the final vote, but his presence could be questioned after one of his close advisers tested positive for COVID-19.
The Conservative judge received strong support on Sunday: that of Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski. Ms Murkowski was among the last Republican senators who were still reluctant to appoint a new judge days before the election, when more than 50 million Americans have already voted.
Even though I oppose the process that got us here, I don't put the blame on her, explained the senator who reiterated her support for President Trump's candidate.
A Republican senator should vote against
The only Republican senator expected to vote against Judge Barrett's appointment is Maine Senator Susan Collins, who will face a close fight to retain her post. She said she would not vote for the appointment of a new judge on a date so close to the election.
Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he was aware of the backlash from his political opponents, but he defended the way he handled the situation.
We've had some heated debates lately, but oddly enough, Judge Barrett's skills and background have been very rarely discussed., defended Mr McConnell, adding that Ms Barrett was one of the most
impressive'to access this function
for a whole generation.
Democratic Leader New York Senator Chuck Schumer has argued that the only way Republicans can erase the
task partisan about their nomination would be
postpone Amy Coney Barrett's confirmation to a later date, after the election.
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