McConnell delivers final remarks ahead of Barrett confirmation vote
From CNN's Lauren Fox
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is delivering his final remarks on the Senate floor right now on Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination.
But in what is unusual for the majority leader, he is delivering his speech largely to his GOP conference. He is turning to them and gesturing to them frequently. And like they did yesterday for the procedural vote, most of the GOP members are in their seats.
Democrats meanwhile are not sitting on the chamber. At one point, McConnell turned to the Democratic side of the aisle and noted they did not appear to be on the floor at the moment.
“By any objective standard, Judge Barrett deserves to be confirmed to the Supreme Court. The American people agree. In just a few minutes, she’ll be on the Supreme Court,” he said.
McConnell’s speech, which is part lecture on the judicial history of the modern Senate and part pep talk for his conference, comes as we expect just one GOP defection: Sen. Susan Collins.
8:32 p.m. ET, October 26, 2020
Schumer slams GOP push to confirm Barrett
From CNN's Clare Foran
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer slammed the GOP push to swiftly confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett this evening in a floor speech ahead of the final confirmation vote.
Schumer accused Republicans of stealing the vacant Supreme Court seat, while making an apparent reference to Republicans blocking Merrick Garland, saying, “Tonight the Republican majority will make a mockery of its own stated principle that the American people deserve a voice in the selection of Supreme Court justices, completing the partisan theft of two seats on the Supreme Court, using completely contradictory rationales.”
“After refusing a Democratic nominee to the Supreme Court because an election was eight months away, they will confirm a Republican nominee before an election that is eight days away,” Schumer said, adding, “The Republican majority is lighting its credibility on fire. This hypocritical, 180 degree turn is spectacularly obvious to the American people.”
“The American people will suffer the consequences of Judge Barrett’s far-right, out of the mainstream views for generations,” Schumer warned
7:20 p.m. ET, October 26, 2020
Murkowski says she doesn't see Barrett overturning Roe v. Wade
From CNN's Kristin Wilson
Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who said on Sunday that she would now vote to confirm Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, told reporters she believes that Barrett would uphold Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark Supreme Court decision.
“I believe that, given how she outlined, not only to me but how she spoke to the issue of reliance when she was before the committee, I believe that she will look at that and weight that in any matters in any cases that come before her that take up Roe v. Wade,” the Alaska senator said.
“I don't see her overturning the decision in Roe v. Wade, based on based on the weighting of other reliance factors," she said.
8:12 p.m. ET, October 26, 2020
Masks required during event tonight, White House says
From CNN's Kaitlan Collins
The audience will be socially distanced at Judge Amy Coney Barrett's expected confirmation event tonight, a White House official tells CNN.
Masks will also be required and those near President Trump will be tested beforehand, the official said.
5:01 p.m. ET, October 26, 2020
Here's a look at the major petitions awaiting Barrett in her first week
From CNN's Devan Cole, Ariane de Vogue and Caroline Kelly
Amy Coney Barrett is preparing to join the Supreme Court as the justices are ready to take action on a number of important petitions before them, including several related to next week's election.
Barrett will solidify a 6-3 conservative majority on the high court and will be able to participate in the court's action on the petitions, potentially giving Republican litigants an additional ally as the justices review the various requests.
Trump taxes case: The justices are primed to decide soon whether a New York prosecutor will get access to Trump's financial documents from January 2011 to August 2019, including his tax returns.
Pennsylvania ballot extensions: Republicans in Pennsylvania asked the Supreme Court on Friday to block a ballot receipt extension that would allow them to be counted if they are received within three days of Election Day — even if they do not have a legible postmark.
Wisconsin ballot counting and requests: Three Wisconsin petitions before the court concern Democrats who are asking the justices to allow the counting of ballots six days after the election and whether Covid-19 vulnerable voters and others in the state can secure replacement mail-in ballots by email.
Minnesota congressional election date: A Republican candidate for Minnesota's 2nd Congressional District is asking the justices to intervene in a case concerning whether his election takes place on Nov. 3 or on Feb. 9, after the recent death of Legal Marijuana Now Party candidate Adam Weeks caused the contest to be moved to next year as required by state law.
Mississippi abortion case: As abortion rights backers and opponents spar over whether Barrett's confirmation would mean the end of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark Supreme Court decision, the justices will consider Friday whether or not to hear a case that could directly consider the precedent. The case pertains to Mississippi's 15-week abortion ban, which Republican Gov. Phil Bryant signed into law in 2018. The law made exceptions only for medical emergencies or cases in which there's a "severe fetal abnormality," but not for incidents of rape or incest. A federal judge in Mississippi struck down the law in November 2018, and the 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the ruling late last year.
4:46 p.m. ET, October 26, 2020
Pence says he will head back to DC "in case" his vote is needed for Barrett confirmation
From CNN’s Daniella Diaz
Vice President Mike Pence just wrapped his only event today in Hibbing, Minnesota. He deplaned Air Force Two with a face mask and waved to the crowd from the top of the stairs. He then jogged to the podium.
Once his remarks wrapped, Pence stepped from behind the podium and put his face mask and returned to Air Force Two.
On today’s Senate confirmation vote for Judge Amy Coney Barret, Pence said, “I’m going to head back to Washington, DC, just in case they need my vote.”
4:03 p.m. ET, October 26, 2020
Justice Clarence Thomas will administer oath to Barrett tonight, senior official says
From CNN's Pamela Brown
Following her expected confirmation by the Senate, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas will administer the official Constitutional Oath to Judge Amy Coney Barrett at the White House tonight, a senior White House official tells CNN.
4:01 p.m. ET, October 26, 2020
Republican senators split on attending post-SCOTUS vote event
From CNN's Kristin Wilson, Ali Zaslav and Ted Barrett
Republican members of the Senate are split about whether they will be attending the post-SCOTUS-vote event at the White House tonight, celebrating Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination.
Some have said they plan to attend, citing that the event will be outside, and that protective measures will be in place.
“I would anticipate that everybody will practice good hygiene, social distancing whatever is appropriate,” said Sen. Kevin Cramer of North Dakota, whose state has recently seen the highest transmission rate in the country.
“It sounds like it’s an outdoor event I mean , that would certainly help that. Obviously, a lot more room, as well as the clean air, so I'm not, I'm not overly concerned. I'm certainly not concerned for myself. I’ll do my part," he said.
Others, like Sen. Todd Young of Indiana, had planned to go, but are wavering.
"I RSVP’d yes, but I'm reconsidering that,” he said. When asked if his hesitation had to do with COVID, he demurred, saying it “had to do with a lot of factors."
Several senators remain undecided.
“I haven’t decided,” said Sen. Rick Scott of Florida. When asked if he’s concerned about the safety of the event, he replied: “I think it is important that people wear masks and they social distance.”
Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina also said he hasn’t decided whether he will attend, because “if I can get on a plane going to South Carolina, I’m going to do that.”
Other members also said they plan to go home following the vote, including Sen. Deb Fischer of Nebraska and Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to answer a question. McConnell recently revealed he has not been to the White House since early August and has been critical on their practices to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
CNN reported Sunday that President Trump is expected to swear in Barrett at the White House at 9 p.m. ET, and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said Monday morning the White House would be “doing the best we can” to prevent an outbreak at the event, including "encouraging as much social distancing as possible" and testing “in and around those that are critical to the mission."
2:59 p.m. ET, October 26, 2020
Pence is not expected to preside over tonight's vote, aide says
From CNN's Sarah Westwood and Kaitlan Collins
Vice President Mike Pence is no longer expected to preside over the Senate's vote to confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court following a coronavirus outbreak on his team.
“Vice President Pence is campaigning in Minnesota today. The VP is not planning to be at the Senate tonight unless his vote is needed,” an aide to the vice president said.
Some background: At least five people in Pence's orbit have tested positive for coronavirus in recent days, including chief of staff Marc Short, close aide Zach Bauer and outside adviser Marty Obst, sources told CNN.
Pence and second lady Karen Pence were both tested for Covid-19 Monday morning, according to Pence’s office. Both tested negative.