The Senate Judiciary Committee voted on Thursday to advance the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, setting up a final confirmation vote by the whole Senate. Democratic members of the committee boycotted the vote and did not attend.
Barrett is a Catholic judge on the Seventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. A mother of seven, she was formerly a law professor at the University of Notre Dame. If confirmed to the Supreme Court, she would be the sixth Catholic on the Court’s bench.
Twelve Republicans on the committee voted on Thursday to report Barrett’s nomination favorably to the entire Senate; the ten Democrats on the committee were “not present,” having informed chairman Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) the night before that they would boycott the hearing, according to Graham.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said that a vote to confirm Barrett would take place on Oct. 26.
Committee hearings were held last week to consider Barrett’s nomination.
On Thursday, Graham noted Barrett’s faith and some “disgusting” attacks on her religious beliefs and family. Senate Democrats on the committee, however, “did not go too far” in their questions of her at last week’s hearings, Graham said.
“She embraces her faith like millions of other Americans, and there’s some things being said about her and her family that are disgusting, and I just want to complement her family for giving her the backing she needed to take on this job,” Graham said.
“And I want to thank the members on this committee for standing up against some pretty vile things,” he said.
When Barrett was considered for the Seventh Circuit court in 2017, some Democrats asked pointed questions to her about her Catholic faith and its influence on how she might rule on abortion cases. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) even told Barrett that “when you read your speeches, the conclusion one draws is that the dogma lives loudly within you. And that’s of concern.”
Last week, Democrats stayed away from direct questions about Barrett’s faith, instead asking her opinions on previous Supreme Court cases including those which legalized abortion and contraception.
Barrett largely declined to give her opinions of Court rulings, offering “no hints, no previews, no forecasts” of her future decisions.
When Graham asked her if she could “set aside” Church teaching when ruling on the bench, in order to make judgments based upon her reading of the law, Barrett answered “I can.”
Jeannie Mancini, president of March for Life, praised the markup vote of Barrett’s nomination.
“Her immense respect for the law and Constitution will allow her to fairly apply the law and consider the rights of everyone who comes before her, including the unborn,” Mancini said of Barrett.