Amy Coney Barrett was confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court yesterday evening, in a vote that was almost entirely along party lines. The only exception was Senator Susan Collins of Maine, who joined all 47 members of the Democratic Caucus in their dissent. The final vote was 52-48.
Collins is widely viewed as one of the most endangered Republicans in this election, with challenger Sara Gideon expected to flip the Senate seat.
Outcome Hardly Surprising:
The outcome of last night’s vote was by no means surprising. It was known from the beginning that Republicans had the numbers to confirm Barrett’s nomination and that Democrats would need 4 GOP defectors to break the party’s majority.
Earlier statements made by possible wild card senators such as Mitt Romney and Rand Paul in support of the confirmation made this scenario exceptionally unlikely. The only other senator expected to buck party lines, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, eventually changed her stance and voted with fellow Republicans.
Collins Says Her Vote Was Not About Qualifications:
In a statement issued over the weekend, Collins made it clear that her vote against Barrett’s confirmation had nothing to do with her qualifications, saying: “Because this vote is occurring prior to the election, I will vote against the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett... To be clear, my vote does not reflect any conclusion that I have reached about Judge Barrett's qualifications to serve on the Supreme Court.”
The senator said that she was ultimately dissatisfied with Republican’s argument for supporting the expedited confirmation of Barrett just 38 days before the election, when in 2016 they had refused to support Obama nominee Merrick Garland 237 days before the election.
“What I have concentrated on is being fair and consistent," Collins said. ”I do not think it is fair nor consistent to have a Senate confirmation vote prior to the election.”