Trump announced his intent to nominate Barrett, a 48-year-old judge on the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals who once clerked for Justice Antonin Scalia, at a White House ceremony on Saturday. Her confirmation, which looks all but certain in the GOP-controlled Senate, would solidify a conservative majority on the high court for the foreseeable future.
Republicans notoriously refused to meet with Appeals Court Judge Merrick Garland, President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, and blocked him from filling the seat that came open upon Scalia’s death in early 2016. At the time, the GOP leaders in charge of the Senate insisted the seat should stay open until a new president took office following that year’s election ― a position they are now ignoring.
Republicans are pushing a historically speedy timetable for confirming Barrett, with a final vote expected just days from the Nov. 3 presidential election.
Although it appears there is little Democrats can do to keep Barrett off the court, some of the party’s senators on the chamber’s Judiciary Committee are pointing to the standard Republicans set four years ago and saying they, too, will abstain from meeting with the judge in an election year.
“I refuse to treat this process as legitimate and will not meet with Judge Barrett,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut said in a statement, noting that early voting is already underway in several states.
A spokesman for the Hawaii Sen. Mazie Hirono confirmed she will also not be meeting with Trump’s nominee.
“Senate Republicans have gone back on their word about confirming a Supreme Court justice in an election year and disrespected the final, fervent wish of Justice Ginsburg to not be replaced until a new president is installed,” Hirono said in a statement on Saturday.