Sen. Murkowski to support Barrett for Supreme Court

    Judge Amy Coney Barrett

    Washington, DC (AP) - Sen. Lisa Murkowski announced Saturday she will vote to confirm Amy Coney Barrett.

    The move gives crucial support to President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee before the conservative judge faces a final vote expected Monday.

    The Alaska Republican had been a rare holdout on Barrett, decrying that her nomination had proceeded so close to a presidential election. Even though Barrett appears to have support for confirmation from Senate Republicans who hold the majority in the chamber, Murkowski's vote now gives Trump's nominee additional backing.

    Murkowski announced her support for Barrett in a speech during Saturday's session. “While I oppose the process that has led us to this point, I do not hold it against her,” she said.

    The Senate opened a rare weekend session Saturday as Republicans raced to put Barrett on the Supreme Court and seal a conservative majority before Election Day despite Democratic efforts to stall Trump's nominee.

    Democrats are poised to mount more time-consuming procedural hurdles, but the party has no realistic chance of stopping Barrett's advance in the Republican-controlled chamber. Barrett, a federal appeals court judge, is expected to be confirmed Monday and quickly join the court.

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., noted the political rancor but defended his handling of the process.

    “Our recent debates have been heated, but curiously talk of Judge Barrett's actual credentials or qualifications are hardly featured,” McConnell said. He called her one of the most “impressive" nominees for public office "in a generation."

    The fast-track confirmation process is like none other in U.S. history so close to a presidential election. Democrats call it a “sham” and say the winner of the Nov. 3 presidential election should name the nominee to fill the vacancy left by the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

    Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of New York warned Republicans the only way to remove the “stain” of their action would be to “withdraw the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett until after the election.”

    With the nation experiencing a surge of COVID-19 cases, Democrats were expected to force a series of votes throughout Saturday on coronavirus relief legislation, including the House-passed Heroes Act that would pump money into schools, hospitals, and jobless benefits and provide other aid.

    Majority Republicans were expected to turn aside the measures and keep Barrett's confirmation on track, which would lock a 6-3 conservative majority on the court for the foreseeable future. Senators planned to stay in session Saturday and Sunday.

    Barrett, 48, presented herself in public testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee as a neutral arbiter of cases on abortion, the Affordable Care Act, and presidential power — issues soon confronting the court. At one point she suggested, “It's not the law of Amy.”

    But Barrett's past writings against abortion and a ruling on the Obama-era health care law show a deeply conservative thinker.

    Trump said this week he is hopeful the Supreme Court will undo the health law when the justices take up a challenge on Nov. 10, the week after the election.

    The fast-track confirmation process is like none other in U.S. history so close to a presidential election.

    Schumer called it the “least legitimate process in the country's history" as he forced procedural steps.

    But Republicans countered they were taking as much time on Barrett's nomination as the average for Supreme Court confirmation. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, dismissed the stall tactics as “frivolous.”

    At the start of Trump's presidency, McConnell engineered a Senate rules change to allow confirmation by a majority of the 100 senators, rather than the 60-vote threshold traditionally needed to advance high court nominees over objections. With a 53-47 GOP majority, Barrett’s confirmation is almost certain.

    Most Republicans are supporting Barrett's confirmation. Only Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine has said she won't vote for a nominee so close to the presidential election.

    More from News of the North

    Events

    • COOKING FOR A CAUSE

      Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association and Alaska Sustainable Fisheries Trust, Cooking for a Cause Fundraiser - December 4th-6th. Join us in Cooking for a Cause with Chef Collette of Ludvigs as your personal (virtual)cooking instructor! All ingredients included to cook a gourmet meal for 2. Ask your favorite someone or get together with your social distancing pod for a fun interactive night. Proceeds from the event will go to the Seafood Donation program run by the Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association (ALFA) and the Alaska Sustainable FisheriesTrust (ASFT). Since March 2020, ALFA and ASFT have provided over 480,000 meals of seafood, free of charge, to Alaskans who are food insecure. Participants can purchase a box with all the ingredients to cook a gourmet two-course dinner with video-led instructions from one of Sitka’s favorite local chefs. Seafood,vegetarian and chicken options are available and each box also comes with dessert for two. Boxes will be available December 4th, however, participants can set their own schedule as the instructions and entertainment are pre-recorded and can be accessed at your convenience. Entertainment from local musicians and singers will be available to watch while you enjoy your dinner and a silent auction with many great items that will be posted as part of the fundraiser. Post photos of your finished plate in our photo contest and the best looking dish can win you a $50 Ludvigs Gift certificate! Silent auction and photo contest winners will be announced on Sunday, Dec​ember 6t​h. Enjo​y a Ludvig’s dinner at home for a great cause!Ticket areon sale now through November 22nd. Visitalaskansown.com/pages/cookingforacause2020 to purchase tickets. For more information contact Lauren at 714-369-4057 or at ​alfa.asft.outreach@gmail.com

      at Zoom
    • The Grind Seeking Performers

      The Sitka Monthly Grind is seeking performers for the December 12th Holiday Grind. If you are interested you will need to record your presentation, and get it to Jeanne Stolberg by December 1st. The show will be produced and shown on Sitka Monthly Grind’s Facebook and Youtube channel starting December 12th. For details or questions contact Jeanne at 738-8083, or Jeff at 747-4821. The Sitka Monthly Grind is under the Greater Sitka Arts Council umbrella, the philosophy remains family oriented, non political, and affordable.

      at None
    • Ocean Wave Quilters Meeting

      Ocean Wave Quilters will meet 7 PM, Tuesday, December 1st via ZOOM. Monthly meetings, September through June, are open to all, members or not. Those wishing to pay the $25 dues receive a monthly newsletter, discounts on classes, and other benefits. For more info call Sarah at 738-72772

      at Zoom