Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) announced Saturday that she will vote to confirm Amy Coney Barrett, President Donald Trump’s latest Supreme Court nominee.
Murkowski, along with GOP Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, said she opposed moving forward with filing a vacant Supreme Court seat just days away from the presidential election, expressing worry that it would politicize the institution and threaten its legitimacy.
“I don’t think this will help our country become a better version of itself,” Murkowski said in a speech on the Senate floor, immediately before announcing her intention to vote for Barrett anyway. The final vote is expected on Monday.
“While I oppose the process that has led us to this point, I do not hold it against her as an individual who has navigated the gauntlet with grace, skill and humility,” she added of Barrett, a 7th Circuit Court of Appeals judge who once clerked for the late Justice Antonin Scalia.
Murkowski is up for reelection in 2022, and her vote on Barrett’s nomination is being closely watched as she gears up for a potential GOP primary. The senator’s contradictory announcement on Saturday was an attempt to thread the needle to bolster her chances of remaining in the Senate.
The Alaska moderate voted against Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation in 2018. She also drew the ire of Trump after denouncing his conduct as president earlier this year.
With Murkowski’s support, Barrett’s nomination is now expected to pass 52-48.
Democrats have warned that Barrett’s anti-abortion background indicates that she will vote to curtail abortion rights ― something that ought to matter to a pro-choice senator like Murkowski.
But the senator defended Barrett on Saturday, stating she did not believe the judge had a “predetermined agenda” after meeting with her earlier this week.