Sen. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., put up a fight on Wednesday against confirming Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court by filing a point of order, or an objection to voting on Barrett’s confirmation before the November election.
The New York Democrat’s motion for the Senate not to consider any Supreme Court nomination so close to the election was his third attempt to delay the process this week. Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, the Senate’s presiding officer, called Schumer’s point of order “not ripe for decision,” and denied it.
Schumer raised a parliamentary inquiry asking if the Senate had ever considered a SCOTUS nominee so close to an election. "According to Parliamentarian, Secretary of Senate's office confirms it has not," Romney said before denying Schumer's point of order, or complaint, that Senate rules are not being followed.
Schumer appealed Romney’s ruling, then moved to table, or kill, his own appeal, forcing senators to go on record with their vote to move forward, after noting that no Supreme Court nominee had been confirmed after July in an election year.
The vote fell along party lines-- 51 Republicans voted to block the appeal and 44 Democrats voted against.
“I'm forcing a vote that the Senate has never confirmed a Supreme Court nominee this close to a presidential election day,” Schumer wrote on Twitter ahead of the vote. “We aren't going to have business as usual while the GOP tries to use an illegitimate process to jam through a nominee to rip away health care from millions.”
Schumer has repeatedly promised that he would not allow “regular order” because of the way Republicans are handling the Barrett confirmation with what he says is "no respect for the institution." After repeatedly declaring “all options are on the table,” he’s been squeezing Republicans to make Barrett’s confirmation as politically painful as possible.
On Monday night, Schumer attempted to shut down the Senate until after the election in protest of Barrett.
The vote on a motion to adjourn, forced by Schumer, followed another roll call vote in which Schumer forced the Senate to consider the Trump administration's softening of a banking regulation regarding low-income borrowers.
That vote failed 43-48 along party lines. Schumer then motioned to adjourn the Senate until after the presidential election. After he was told his motion was out of order, he appealed that ruling and then motioned to table his own appeal.
The motion succeeded 48-42, meaning that Republicans blocked Schumer's effort to shut down the Senate until after the presidential election.
Schumer again temporarily commandeered Senate proceedings on Tuesday, forcing votes to halt consideration of a $500 billion Republican-backed coronavirus stimulus bill and to shut down the Senate until after the election.
Schumer cited his objections to what he called Republicans' "stunt" on coronavirus stimulus and the "illicit process" to confirm Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett before the presidential election. This is despite Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., calling the Barrett hearing "one of the best Senate hearings that I've participated in."
Schumer first moved Tuesday to remove the Protect Act, which is the smaller Republican-backed coronavirus bill the Senate is planning to consider on Tuesday, from the body's calendar. With a $500 billion price tag, Democrats do not believe it is sufficient as the pandemic moves through what is its eighth full month of a significant economic impact on the U.S.
Schumer added Tuesday: "If my Republican colleagues ... want to do something real, we're going to give them a chance on the floor right now. I'll be making a motion to move the Senate into a posture where we can all vote on the Heroes Act that passed the House. If the Senate passed it, it would head right to the president's desk. Democrats have already modified the bill to make it more palatable to our Republican colleagues, coming down over $1 trillion."
Schumer then offered a motion that would table the Protect Act so the Senate could focus on the Heroes Act. It failed on a party-line vote.
After the Senate defeated Schumer's motion to table the Protect Act 45-52, McConnell moved ahead to a separate nomination for a district judge. That's when Schumer, citing his objections to the Barrett nomination, again moved to shut down the Senate as he did Monday.
"Because of this illicit process, this rush to judgment, the worst nomination proceeding of the Supreme Court in American history that has so defiled the Senate, I move to adjourn," Schumer said. He said the only exception for his adjournment would be to convene for coronavirus-related legislation.
As happened Monday, Schumer was told his motion to adjourn was out of order and would require consent. He then appealed the chair's ruling and put up a motion to table his own appeal. That counterintuitive move triggered a vote, forcing senators to go on the record on the matter.
McConnell has said that he will bring the nomination to the floor on Friday, which would allow the Senate to take a procedural cloture vote on the nomination before a Monday full Senate vote.