Democrats Promise To Fight Barrett’s Confirmation By Not Providing Quorum

( The Supreme Court confirmation hearing for Judge Amy Coney Barrett began Monday morning in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

But, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said on Sunday night that Democrats won’t “supply quorum” to allow the process to advance. Schumer was essentially suggesting that Democrats would boycott the committee’s votes in an effort to stop the confirmation hearing in its tracks before the November presidential election.

Schumer said the entire confirmation process is “illegitimate, dangerous and unpopular.” He made those comments while also saying that if Barrett were confirmed, she should recuse herself from any and all cases that involve either the presidential election or the Affordable Care Act.

What basis he has for those demands is unclear.

Talking Sunday night, Schumer said:

“We will talk about when the actual vote occurs in committee and on the floor. Democrats will not supply the quorum. Period.”

A minimum number of members must be present at a committee or a full Senate for either to conduct official business and, therefore, hold a vote. For the full Senate, a quorum is 51 members. For the Judiciary Committee, it is nine members, two of whom must be from the minority party, or the Democrats in this case.

If no more than one Democrat plans to attend the October 22 meeting of the Judiciary Committee meeting where it currently plans to vote on Barrett’s nomination, then they could possibly prevent the committee from reporting her nomination to the full Senate for a final vote.

Republicans would still have tools in their back pocket they could use to get around this, though. The Senate could, for example, vote on what’s called a discharge resolution. That would remove responsibility from the Judiciary Committee of considering Barrett’s nomination. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would then have the power to call her nomination for a full Senate vote.

It’s also possible that the Judiciary Committee could change its rules that currently say at least two members of the Democratic Party must be present for the vote.

If Barrett’s nomination does get to the full Senate for a vote, there is nothing Democrats can do to stop her from being confirmed. That’s because there are 53 Republicans currently in the Senate. Even if all Democrats were to boycott the full floor vote, there would be enough members present for a quorum. There is no current requirement that a minimum number of the minority party be present to constitute a quorum with the full Senate.

James Wallner, who serves as a senior resident fellow for governance at the R Street Institute, said to Fox News:

“The key for Democrats is to make Republicans’ doing so as painful as possible,” referring to the committee changing its rules or the party taking other moves to get around the lack of quorum. “Schumer’s announcement that Democrats have already decided not to attend a committee markup lessens any leverage Democrats can hope to gain in the larger debate by forcing Republicans to change the rules to get Barrett to the floor.”