Senate Democrats unlikely to boycott Barrett confirmation vote despite procedural gripes

 | October 12, 2020 06:40 PM

Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin said Monday that he knows of no Democrats who plan to boycott the final floor confirmation vote of President Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Amy Coney Barrett, following the close of the first day of her confirmation hearing.

“I've heard no speculation along those lines. I haven't heard anything. I'm planning on voting on the floor unless my not voting stops her from moving forward. We'll see,” Durbin told the Washington Examiner.

During a press conference on Sunday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer declared that Democrats would not provide a quorum for votes to advance Barrett’s confirmation in an effort to delay the confirmation before the election.

"We will talk about when the actual vote occurs in committee and on the floor. Democrats will not supply the quorum," Schumer said. "Period."

A quorum is the minimum number of members necessary for a committee or a full Senate to conduct business and hold votes. In the Senate, 51 members must be present to have a quorum; in the Senate Judiciary Committee, the quorum is nine members, including two in the minority party.

If at least one of the Democrats fails to report to vote Barrett out of committee as a means to stall her confirmation, Republicans could vote on a discharge resolution that would remove the responsibility of considering the Barrett nomination from the committee, allowing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to call the nomination to the floor for a full vote.

Republicans on the committee could also change the rules to eliminate the requirement that two Democrats be present at the committee confirmation vote.

Senate Judiciary Democrats appear resigned to the idea that Barrett, a judge for the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, will be confirmed unless one Republican committee member votes against her nomination or two additional Republicans oppose her nomination on the floor of the Senate during the final confirmation vote.

Democrats criticized Republicans for holding the confirmation hearings, saying the GOP is putting those in attendance on Capitol Hill from lawmakers to staff at risk of getting infected by the COVID-19 virus, pointing to members of the Judiciary Committee, such as Republican Sens. Thom Tillis and Mike Lee, who were already infected.

Republicans control 53 votes in the Senate. Only two Republicans, Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Maine Sen. Susan Collins, have indicated they will vote against Barrett’s nomination on the floor, and after Utah Republican Sen. Mitt Romney indicated he would support Barrett’s nomination, the nomination will not need a tie-breaking vote from Vice President Mike Pence to advance to the floor.