Senate Democrats Tuesday are using the Supreme Court’s 4-4 divide on Pennsylvania mail-in ballots as occasion to criticize Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, who, if confirmed later this month will be on the high court’s bench in time to hear election-related disputes.
“One more vote provided by a hard right, Trump nominated justice could be the difference between voting rights and voter suppression,” said Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer on the chamber floor Tuesday.
Critics of President Trump believe he wants Judge Barrett, his third appointment to the high court, on the bench before any election disputes head to the justices over mail-in ballots.
On Monday, the high court split 4-4 in allowing Pennsylvania to continue to count mail-in ballots three days after Election Day so long as they are postmarked by Nov. 3.
Four Republican appointees, Justices Neil M. Gorsuch, Brett M. Kavanaugh, Samuel A. Alito, Jr., and Clarence Thomas, would have denied the request to extend the counting period, but Chief Justice Roberts, a George W. appointee, sided with the court’s three Democratic appointees.
The 4-4 split upheld the Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision against Republicans, allowing the count to continue past Nov. 3.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal, Connecticut Democrat, said he was “astonished and appalled” that four of the sitting justices would have moved to intervene on a state Supreme Court decision related to voting matters.
Both senators said Judge Barrett refused to answer key questions during her confirmation hearings last week related to voting rights, such as whether the president can unilaterally change the election date and the legality of a peaceful transfer of power.
“It’s absurd. No one is buying it,” Mr. Schumer said.
Judge Barrett will likely be on the high court ahead of the Nov. 3 election, as Senate Republicans have the votes to confirm her and will likely do so next week.