The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 12-10 along party lines to advance attorney general nominee William Barr to the full Senate for a confirmation vote.
The full Senate will vote on Barr’s confirmation next week, he is expected to be approved. Barr previously served as attorney general under President George H. W. Bush from November of 1991 until January of 1993. When nominated the first time in 1991, the Senate approved Barr by unanimous voice vote.
“William Barr has been confirmed by the Senate three times without opposition,” said Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on Twitter. “He has the experience and is eminently qualified to perform the duties of Attorney General. I hope and expect he will be confirmed next week.”
Barr was nominated by President Donald Trump in December to replace former AG Jeff Sessions. Sessions submitted his resignation in early November of 2018.
Matthew Whitaker has served as acting AG since Sessions’ resignation.
A practicing Catholic and a member of the Knights of Columbus, Barr said in his confirmation hearings that he did not believe his faith would hinder his ability to serve as an effective attorney general.
Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) asked Barr about his religious faith, and questioned whether or not he thought this “disqualified” him from the position. Kennedy said that “some of (his) colleagues think it might,” referencing questioning by Sens. Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Mazie Hirono (D-HI) attacking a Catholic judicial nominee for his membership in the Knights of Columbus.
Barr told Kennedy that he planned to “render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s” if he were to be confirmed as attorney general.
Other recent candidates before the Senate Judiciary Committee have faced questions about their religious beliefs, concepts of sin, and membership in charitable and fraternal organizations.