Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski flip-flopped Saturday on her pledge to oppose the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, making the judge’s installation as early as Monday even more of a sure thing.
“My constitutional responsibility is to now look beyond process,” Murkowski, a Republican, said in a statement. “When we reach a final vote, I will vote to confirm Judge Barrett to the Supreme Court.”
The moderate lawmaker said she would continue to seek to block consideration of Barrett’s confirmation because she believes the American people should have the right to weigh in by picking the next president on Election Day.
But if, as expected, the confirmation comes to a yes-or-no vote, Murkowski now says she will be in Barrett’s corner.
Murkowski joins a parade of Republicans changing their tune to back Barrett as they move ahead with a confirmation vote expected in the Senate just days before the nation goes to the polls and as about 60 million have already cast ballots.
The GOP holds a 53-47 edge in the Senate. Murkowski’s move leaves Sen. Susan Collins of Maine as the only Republican lawmaker who has so far remained resolved about opposing Barrett.
Murkowski adds her name to a growing list of Republicans who tossed aside their assurances that they would not allow President Donald Trump to fill a Supreme Court vacancy so close to a presidential election after the GOP blocked President Barack Obama from doing the same thing in 2016.
Murkowski famously said “fair is fair” several weeks ago when explaining why she planned to oppose any effort by Trump to fill a vacancy in the months before the election.
Sen. Lindsey Graham also abandoned his airtight insistence during the battle against Obama’s pick that he would not rubber stamp a Trump pick.
Barrett, a conservative appeals court judge, is set to take the place of iconic liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died last month.
Her confirmation would cement a 6-3 right-wing majority on the top court, with potentially far-reaching impacts on American life for years to come.
Barrett will likely join the top court in time to hear a crucial case in which Republicans are seeking to strike down the Affordable Care Act. She could also rule on any election disputes, a reason Trump cited in urging fellow Republicans to confirm her before Nov. 3.
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