Sen. Josh Hawley says Democrats have taken same approach to Barrett that they used with Robert Bork in 1987.
Sen. Josh Hawley said on Wednesday that he expects Democrats to try to delay the confirmation effort for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett “as long as they can” with a series of votes or other tactics both during her Judiciary Committee markup Thursday and on the floor of the Senate as Republicans aim for a Monday confirmation vote.
“I imagine that they will attempt to drag out the vote as long as they can,” Hawley, R-Mo., said. “I imagine they’ll attempt to force a series of votes on extraneous matters tomorrow in the committee markup. … And I imagine they’ll pursue similar tactics on the floor over the next few days.”
Hawley made the comments during a press call organized by the Article III Project, an organization dedicated to backing President Trump’s judicial nominees.
Despite predicted fierce opposition from Democrats to “slow down the process” and “further attack [Barrett] by any means at their disposal,” Hawley said he expects Republicans to eventually seat Barrett on the Supreme Court.
Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., speaks during the confirmation hearing for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett at the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, Oct. 12, 2020. (Win McNamee/Pool via AP)
“I don’t think that they will succeed. I don’t think they think they will succeed,” Hawley added. “I think it’s theater at this point and they seem to be more interested in settling scores internally and in persecuting Senator Feinstein.”
Hawley was referencing calls for Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., to resign from her post after she called the Barrett hearing “one of the best Senate hearings that I’ve participated in” and hugged Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., after four days of hearings on Barrett that broke expectations and were largely civil.
If Democrats bring out further attacks against Barrett or put up procedural roadblocks, Hawley said, “Republicans will just have to be ready … to make the counter-argument, ready to vote and ready to get her across the finish line.”
“We’re not there yet,” Hawley also said. “I mean, we’ve got five days to go here. We’ve got a series of votes ahead of us on this. We cannot be complacent. … We’ve got work left to do.”
Hawley, further referencing the rift between Feinstein and many of the farther left members of the Democratic Party — one which caused Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., to have “a long and serious talk with Senator Feinstein” — speculated that Feinstein might not be running the show for Democrats at the Thursday markup.
There have been no indications that Feinstein might be disempowered by Judiciary Committee Democrats. Feinstein’s office even sent out a press release at nearly the exact same time as Hawley was speaking Wednesday slamming Barrett on the abortion issue, warning the nominee’s “views are far outside the judicial mainstream and should disqualify Judge Barrett from being confirmed to the Supreme Court.” The release referenced Feinstein as the Judiciary Committee ranking member.
“I’ll be interested to see what they do,” Hawley said of the Judiciary Committee Democrats. “And I don’t know if they’ll allow her to speak tomorrow in the committee. I don’t know if they’ll allow her to lead their opposition or if they will give it to one of the men on the committee.”
Hawley during the press call Wednesday also profusely praised Barrett for what he called a “virtuoso” performance at the Judiciary Committee hearings last week. He said that Barrett “didn’t flinch, didn’t back down, didn’t stumble,” and that Democrats “couldn’t get any traction in any of the attacks against her.”
The Judiciary Committee is scheduled to meet at 9 a.m. Thursday and vote to report Barrett’s nomination at 1 p.m. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has then said he will bring Barrett’s nomination to the Senate floor on Friday, setting up a procedural vote on Sunday and a final vote on Monday.
Republicans — barring unexpected defections or a coronavirus outbreak in their caucus — appear to have the votes to confirm Barrett. There are 53 Republicans in the Senate and only Sens. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Susan Collins, R-Maine, have said they are uncomfortable with moving ahead with the Barrett nomination before the presidential election.
That means, without a vote from with Collins or Murkowski, that Republicans can afford to lose the vote of one member and still have Vice President Pence break a 50-50 tie.
Democrats, meanwhile, have attempted to force Republicans into a series of uncomfortable votes to make the Barrett confirmation as politically painful as possible for them.
Earlier this month Schumer forced a vote on a measure that would ban the Justice Department from arguing against the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) as it currently plans to when a case against it comes before the Supreme Court on Nov. 10.
His “cloture” motion on that failed 51-43 — it needed 60 votes to pass — but succeeded in getting six moderate or electorally vulnerable Republican senators to back it, underscoring that some Republicans are in fact feeling the pressure of Democrats’ constant rhetoric — which may not necessarily be accurate — that Barrett is a grave threat to the ACA.
On Wednesday, Schumer indicated that he will force a vote on a point of order on whether or not the Senate should be confirming a Supreme Court justice this close to a presidential election. That will force Senators to go on the record on the issue, and Schumer said on the Senate floor Wednesday, “We’ll see how my Republican colleagues vote.”
Republicans argue that in almost all cases, election-year Supreme Court vacancies have been filled when the presidency and Senate are controlled by the same party, so they are just following precedent. But none of those votes have happened this close to a presidential election.
Schumer has also said that Democrats would not provide a quorum for votes on Barrett. That indicates they may attempt to boycott the committee vote Thursday and force Republicans to push through Barrett’s nomination despite committee rules requiring two members of the minority to be present for the committee to conduct business.
Fox News’ Kelly Phares contributed to this report.