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Amy Coney Barrett: The probable confirmation program for the Supreme Court candidate



Here is the likely timetable for Amy Coney Barrett’s future confirmation to the Supreme Court.

As is customary, the committee suspends the appointment for a week. The Senate Judiciary Committee will meet again to review Barrett’s nomination on Thursday, Oct.22 at 1pm ET.

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The commission will vote to send the nomination to the room (technically the “calendar”, but that’s another story). A candidate does not have to have a “favorable” recommendation from the committee to go and speak. Robert Bork received an “unfavorable”

; recommendation from the committee in 1987 (and was defeated to the floor). Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas was sent to speak without “recommendation” in 1991 before being confirmed.

The committee will need a simple majority vote to advance the nomination to the full Senate.

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Announced earlier this week that he would put the nomination up on Friday, October 23.

This is where it gets a little tricky.

If the committee ends the appointment on October 22, the Senate cannot formally consider it until October 23. Keep in mind that it could start at 00:00:01 ET on Friday if McConnell really wants to hit the gas pedal.

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McConnell must move to move the Senate into executive session (against legislative session) to specifically consider Barrett’s appointment. Such a process probably requires a vote, but is not questionable (subject to obstruction). This vote could take place by roll call, by voice or by unanimous consent (provided that there are no objections from any senator). Democrats could create some trouble at this stage by not having a quorum present or by asking for a quorum to be present, but not helping to build a quorum.

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This step to go to the executive session requires a simple majority. And once the Senate is in executive session for Barrett, the clerk “reports” (reads aloud) the appointment before this Senate.

There is no “motion to proceed” on this type of appointment, based on a precedent set in the late 1970s by the late Senate Majority Leader Robert Byrd, D-W.V. So, there’s no way the Democrats can stonewall just by starting the nomination debate. However, the Democrats may try to obstruct the backend.

At this stage, McConnell could dismiss the cloture to curb the debate and overcome an obstruction. McConnell could do it as early as Friday 23 October.

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Regardless of when McConnell presents the cloture, as a rule, the “cloture petition” (to end the nomination debate) matures for a vote after an intervening day.

So if McConnell says he wants to end the debate on Friday, October 23, then Saturday, October 24 is the day in between. The cloture petition will mature on Sunday 25 October. As a rule, the Senate can start voting to end the nomination debate one hour after the Senate meeting, after the interim day. Again, if they really want to fill up, this could happen on Sunday, Oct. 25 at 1 a.m. ET.

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But we don’t know they will move it quickly. The Senate is more likely to vote to end the nomination debate on Monday, October 26, or later in the week.

Under the provisions of “Nuclear Option II” (where McConnell set a new precedent – not a change of rules – by lowering the bar to end a filibuster on Supreme Court appointments from 60 votes to 51 to confirm the Judge Neil Gorsuch), the Senate would have him vote to end the debate on the candidacy. This results in a simple majority. Once the closure on the candidacy has been “called for” (stopping an obstruction), the debate is limited to 30 hours.

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After 30 hours, the Senate can vote in favor or down on the nomination itself. 51 votes are enough to confirm Barrett.

That’s why we believe Barrett’s actual confirmation won’t happen until the middle or end of the week of October 25, probably October 28-30.


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