Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell
, R-Ky., took the first steps Friday to advance Amy Coney Barrett for a Supreme Court confirmation vote
despite delay tactics from Democrats, including forcing a rare closed-door session that’s typically reserved for national security matters.
Senate Republicans voted in favor of a procedural motion to enter executive session to begin debating Barrett’s nomination — teeing up a final vote on Barrett’s nomination Monday.
“Let’s get on with it. Let’s do our jobs,” said McConnell, while hitting Democrats for efforts to undercut Barrett and previous GOP nominees. “We will give this nominee the vote she deserves no later than Monday.”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., made clear Democrats would continue to put up a fight. He kicked off Friday’s Senate session asking for a quorum call vote, one of the delay tactics at his disposal.
Republicans are “running the most partisan, the most hypocritical and least legitimate process in the history of Supreme Court nominations,” Schumer said Friday.
“We’re not going to have business as usual,” he added.
Next Schumer called for a closed session, which meant the press and public are removed from the chamber and senators meet in secret.
“Before we go any further, we should shut off the cameras, close the Senate, and talk face to face about what this might mean for the country,” Schumer said.
Closed session is very uncommon and used for matters deemed to require confidentiality and secrecy, such as national security, according to the Congressional Research Service. The last time senators had a secret session was in 2010 to privately discuss a new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START).
The brief secret session lasted roughly 20 minutes before the cameras were back on and Republicans got the ball rolling again on the nomination process. McConnell filed “cloture” on the Barrett nomination, setting off a countdown for a final vote on Barrett’s confirmation likely for Monday evening.
Democrats staged a boycott of the committee vote saying they don’t want to lend any legitimacy to a “sham” process. They fumed at Republicans for bypassing committee rules for two minority senators to be present to conduct business so they could move on the Barrett nomination.
Schumer said McConnell “has defiled the Senate as an institution more than any person in this generation and many generations.”
McConnell said it’s Democrats who started to break judicial norms in the Senate.
“I’m sorry that he feels the need to constantly say things that are false,” McConnell Thursday said.
McConnell made the case that what Republicans are doing now is right. “We will not reward hostage-taking, and we will not be bullied out of doing what is right. We’re going to follow history and precedent and do our jobs.”