Vice President Mike Pence is no longer expected to preside over the Senate’s vote to confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court following a coronavirus outbreak on his team.
“Vice President Pence is campaigning in Minnesota today. The VP is not planning to be at the Senate tonight unless his vote is needed,” an aide to the vice president said.
Some background: At least five people in Pence’s orbit have tested positive for coronavirus in recent days, including chief of staff Marc Short, close aide Zach Bauer and outside adviser Marty Obst, sources told CNN.
Pence and second lady Karen Pence were both tested for Covid-19 Monday morning, according to Pence’s office. Both tested negative.
Only one Republican — Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, who is facing a competitive reelection fight — is expected to vote against Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation due to concerns that it’s too close to the election to consider a nominee.
All Democrats are expected to vote against the nomination, though Republicans still have enough votes to confirm Barrett.
On Thursday, the Senate Judiciary Committee advanced the nomination to the full chamber, over the boycott of Democratic committee members, who put in their seats pictures of individuals affected by the Affordable Care Act.
Unable to stop the confirmation, Democrats have resorted to theatrical tactics instead to spotlight their anger. Democratic senators on Friday forced a rare closed session so members could privately discuss their concerns about the process.
Senate Republicans are poised to confirm President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett today, a major victory for the President and his party just days before Nov. 3, that promises to push the high court in a more conservative direction for generations to come.
Trump is expected to swear-in Barrett at the White House in an outdoor ceremony at 9 p.m. after her expected confirmation, a source familiar with the invitation tells CNN.
Here are some key things to know ahead of this evening’s vote:
- Why it matters: The stakes in the Supreme Court battle are immense and come at a pivotal time in American politics in the run up to an election where control of Congress and the White House are on the line. Trump’s appointment of a new Supreme Court justice will mark the third of his tenure in office, giving Republicans a historic opportunity to deliver on the key conservative priority and campaign promise of transforming the federal courts through lifetime appointments.
- What Barrett could mean for the court: Barrett, 48, is likely to serve on the court for decades and will give conservatives a 6-3 majority on the Supreme Court, a shift in its makeup that will have dramatic implications for a range of issues that could come before it, including the future of the Affordable Care Act and any potential disputes regarding the 2020 election.
- Fast-tracked nomination: Senate Republicans, who hold a majority in the upper chamber, have pushed ahead with one of the quickest nomination proceedings in modern times following the death of the late Justice and liberal icon Ruth Bader Ginsburg last month. They have the votes to confirm Barrett over the objections of Democrats who have argued that the process has been a rushed and cynical power grab that threatens to undermine Ginsburg’s legacy. “The Senate is doing the right thing. We’re moving this nomination forward and, colleagues, by tomorrow night we will have a new member of the United States Supreme Court,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Sunday after the Senate advanced the nomination in a key procedural vote to break a Democratic filibuster.
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