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Cory Booker: 'Freeze' Barrett's nomination since millions of Americans voted early

"We have Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham pushing through with unprecedented speed, in the midst of an election, where millions of people have voted," said the New Jersey Democratic Senator.

Updated: October 22, 2020 - 12:00pm

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New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, a Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, argued that Senate Republicans should not advance Judge Amy Coney Barrett's nomination Thursday morning — after millions of people already voted early in the 2020 presidential election. 

If the GOP-controlled committee recommends Barrett get a full Senate vote, the final floor vote is schedule for Monday — one week from Election Day, on Nov. 3.

Booker said the Supreme Court vacancy should be filled after the next presidential inauguration. 

"We have Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham pushing through with unprecedented speed, in the midst of an election, where millions of people have voted, are putting forward a judge that is hostile towards the Affordable Care Act," Booker said on a conference call with representatives from several civil right organizations on Wednesday. "To me this is stunning, it is anti-democratic."

Booker said the Democrats need two Republicans to defect to freeze the nomination. The GOP has 53 of the 100 Senate seats and will need a 51-vote majority to get Barrett confirmed to the high court. 

"This is a time that this country should be rising up in a course of condemnation to what the Senate Republicans are trying to do," he said. "This is the time that they [Republicans] should be showing the restraint of power. This is the time that they should be waiting and trusting the American people."

Sherrilyn Ifill, president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, also said Barrett's nomination should not move forward given that millions of Americans have already voted early for president.

"We released a brief report outlining our objection to the unconscionable advancement of a judicial nominee while millions of voters are engaged in early voting and casting absentee votes and just weeks before the general election for the president and for Senate seats across 34 states," she said on the call with Booker.

Many Democrats said Barrett is a threat to the Affordable Care Act in the California v. Texas case related to the law's individual mandate. Barrett declined to say how she would vote in that case during her confirmation hearings. 

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer argued on Wednesday that President Trump and Senate Republicans have "conducted the most rushed, partisan and least legitimate Supreme Court nomination process" in U.S. history.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said that Republicans did not proceed with the nomination of Merrick Garland, former President Obama's choice to fill the vacancy of Antonin Scalia after his death in 2016, because the GOP won the majority in the Senate in the 2014 midterm elections. 

"Since the 1880s, no Senate has confirmed an opposite-party president's Supreme Court nominee in a presidential election year," McConnell said in a statement. "By contrast, Americans reelected our majority in 2016 and expanded it in 2018 because we pledged to work with President Trump and support his agenda, particularly his outstanding appointments to the federal judiciary. Once again, we will keep our promise."

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