Murkowski says she will vote yes to confirm new Supreme Court justice

A woman speaking at a podium
Senator Lisa Murkowski at the August 26, 2020, opening ceremony for the Operation Lady Justice Task Force Cold Case Office in Anchorage, Alaska. (Jeff Chen/Alaska Public Media)

On Friday, U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski voted with Democrats against proceeding toward a vote on President Trump’s latest nominee to the Supreme Court.

The procedural motion passed anyway, by a vote of 51-46. Murkowski and Sen. Susan Collins of Maine were the only Republicans to vote against taking a step closer to a confirmation vote on Judge Amy Coney Barrett.

Murkowski has said that she does not want to take up the nomination so close to the presidential election. She says she’s applying the same standard she used in 2016, when she and the rest of Senate Republicans refused to consider President Obama’s nominee.

But, on Saturday, Murkowski released a statement saying that she would vote to confirm Judge Barrett to serve on the Supreme Court when time for the final vote comes.

“My constitutional responsibility is to now look beyond process and to vote based on a solid evaluation of her qualifications and fitness of judicial temperament,” she said in the statement.

With or without her, Democrats clearly don’t have the votes to block the confirmation. Another procedural vote is set for Sunday to clear the path for a final vote Monday.

Alaska’s other senator, Dan Sullivan, voted with the majority of Republicans Friday, in favor of advancing toward the confirmation.

KTOO’s Jennifer Pemberton contributed to this report.

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Liz Ruskin is the Washington, D.C., correspondent for Alaska Public Media. She reports from the U.S. Capitol and from Anchorage. Reach her at lruskin@alaskapublic.org.

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