Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski announced Saturday afternoon she will vote “yes” on Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Court nomination, despite just two days before signaling she would vote against President Donald Trump’s nominee.
The Alaska GOP senator’s complete reversal leaves only Maine Senator Susan Collins as the only other Republican who may decide to vote against Barrett. The female Republican senators were the only members of the upper chamber who had previously expressed their desire to push the SCOTUS nomination back until after their respective senate elections. On Thursday, just two days ago, Murkowski expressed her opposition to the Senate trying to jam her nomination through before Election Day. But during Saturday’s rare senate session, she declared that Barrett should be judged based on her qualifications and is set to be confirmed.
“I believe that the only way to put us back on the path of appropriate consideration of judicial nominees is to evaluate Judge Barrett as we would want to be judged. On the merits of her qualifications. And we do that when that final questions comes before us. And when it does, I will be a yes,” Murkowski said on the Senate floor.
“I had hoped that if we were going to be at this moment in time just over a week out from our national elections, that we would be here on the floor debating – debating the merits of a [stimulus] relief bill. And in my home state of Alaska, as in so many states around the country, we’re seeing unprecedented numbers [of new coronavirus] cases now,” Murkowski continued Saturday.
Last Thursday, a congressional pool report spoke with the Alaska GOP senator and she gave a very different view just after Barrett’s nomination advanced out of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
“I’ve shared for a while that I didn’t think we should be taking this up until after the election, and I haven’t changed,” Murkowski said. The senator was then explicitly asked whether she was still planning on being a “no” vote during the full senate vote, to which she replied, “That means I haven’t changed my mind on that.”
Regardless of Murkowski or Collins voting against Barrett, Republicans still have the simple majority votes needed to confirm Barrett, which is likely to happen Monday evening. With Murkowski’s sudden flip-flop, the expected vote is 52-48.
Murkowski perhaps buckled to the pressure from her Republican colleagues including the president himself, who has attacked any dissenting voices in the GOP majority senate. In June, Trump tweeted, “Few people know where they’ll be in two years from now, but I do, in the Great State of Alaska (which I love) campaigning against Senator Lisa Murkowski. She voted against HealthCare, Justice Kavanaugh, and much else.”