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Murkowski reverses course, will vote to confirm Barrett to Supreme Court

The Republican senator from Alaska had initially opposed confirming a new justice to the Supreme Court so close to a presidential election.
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WASHINGTON — Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, reversed course on Saturday and said that she now plans to vote in favor of Judge Amy Coney Barrett's final confirmation to the Supreme Court, which is expected to happen early next week.

Murkowski had initially said that she opposed voting on a nominee before the November election. Her vote in favor of Barrett all but ends any long shot hopes Democrats had of convincing some moderate and vulnerable Republicans to side against Barrett's confirmation.

"I believe that the only way to put us back on the path of appropriate consideration of judicial nominees is to evaluate Judge Barrett as we would want to be judged: on the merits of her qualifications," Murkowski said on the Senate floor Saturday afternoon.

"And we do that when that final question comes before us. And when it does, I will be a yes," she said.

Murkowski, appearing to acknowledge that a vote for Barrett could be seen as a break from her previous opposition to a pre-election Supreme Court vote, said that she would still vote against a procedural hurdle on Sunday that will advance the nomination past a filibuster to the final vote.

"What I can do now is be consistent with the precedent that I have set for myself and oppose a process that I said should not move forward, and I've done that," she said.

Murkowski opposed the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court in 2018. She is up for re-election in 2022.

"I felt like Sen. Murkowski was just going through a process," said Sen. Thom Tillis, R-NC, a member of the Judiciary Committee. "But I think like, like so many millions of Americans, the quality of this candidate is one who deserves a yes vote," he said.