Peters, Stabenow vote no on Barrett SCOTUS nomination

The White House, Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2018. | Official White House Photo by Keegan Barber via Flickr Public Domain

Conservative Judge Amy Coney Barrett was, as expected, confirmed Monday to the U.S. Supreme Court in a mostly party-line 52-48 vote, with U.S. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) crossing over to vote no.

President Trump held a ceremonial swearing-in event for Barrett at the White House Monday evening, eight days before the Nov. 3 election. Her nomination in the White House rose garden on Sept. 26 was a COVID-19 super-spreader event, with Trump, first lady Melania Trump, adviser Chris Christie and more testing positive shortly afterward.

Barrett, whose nomination has been celebrated by groups opposing reproductive rights, will fill the seat left open by feminist icon Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died of cancer last month and whose dying wish reportedly was to have a new president appoint her replacement.

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Trump, however, called it “highly fitting that Justice Barrett fills the seat of a true pioneer for women, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.”

Both of Michigan’s U.S. senators, Gary Peters (D-Bloomfield Twp.) and Debbie Stabenow (D-Lansing), voted against Barrett’s appointment.

“With all that’s at stake, Michiganders deserve a say in who nominates & confirms the next Supreme Court Justice. It’s unacceptable they are being denied that opportunity. Health care & so much more is on the line. I’m voting no on Judge Barrett’s confirmation,” Peters wrote on Twitter.

Peters is facing Republican nominee John James on Nov. 3. James’ campaign issued a statement attacking Peters for the vote, but did not say if the Republican would have voted for Barrett, who was described in the release as a “highly qualified woman.”

“Michigan doesn’t need more partisans dividing this country. We need leadership that will bring us together, help heal our divides and faithfully carry out the constitutionally delegated duties of a Senator,” said James spokesperson Abby Walls. “John James will be that leader and that voice for Michigan in the U.S. Senate.”

James tweeted in September that he believes Barrett is “an accomplished and well-respected legal mind with an objectively brilliant career. I wish her a respectful and dignified hearing.”

Michigan Planned Parenthood Votes praised Peters for his vote.

“Sen. Peters is an unapologetic champion for Michiganders’ reproductive health and rights. His vote today, and his bravery in sharing his family’s abortion story, is further proof that he not just listens, but truly understands the challenges and needs of Michigan families,” said spokesperson Ashlea Phenicie. “His record in the Senate, which includes defending the Affordable Care Act and our reproductive freedom, reflects his career fighting for us and what he will continue to do when reelected.”

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Stabenow said in a statement that Barrett “does not represent mainstream values.”

“All across our country this year, we’ve seen Americans standing up and speaking out for greater equality and greater justice. Our choice is this: Does the highest court in the land stand with the people as they strive to build a more perfect union? Or does the Court side with powerful interests and the most extreme views in America,” said Stabenow. “Judge Amy Coney Barrett does not stand on the side of people. She does not represent mainstream values – the values we cherish in Michigan.”

Stabenow also criticized majority Republicans in a floor statement for not taking up COVID-19 relief legislation and prioritizing a Supreme Court nomination before the election.

“Instead of providing help to families and communities and businesses that are suffering … we’re seeing a rush to get a Supreme Court nominee on the court that will have disastrous consequences for our nation, both for today and for decades to come,” Stabenow said.

Michigan has had 161,907 COVID-19 cases and 7,211 deaths. There have been more than 8.7 million confirmed cases nationwide and 225,495 deaths.

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Susan J. Demas is a 19-year journalism veteran and one of the state’s foremost experts on Michigan politics, appearing on MSNBC, CNN, NPR and WKAR-TV’s “Off the Record.” In addition to serving as Editor-in-Chief, she is the Advance’s chief columnist, writing on women, LGBTQs, the state budget, the economy and more. Most recently, she served as Vice President of Farough & Associates, Michigan’s premier political communications firm. For almost five years, Susan was the Editor and Publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, the most-cited political newsletter in the state. Susan’s award-winning political analysis has run in more than 80 national, international and regional media outlets, including the Guardian U.K., NBC News, the New York Times, the Detroit News and MLive. She is the only Michigan journalist to be named to the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Reporters,” the Huffington Post’s list of “Best Political Tweeters” and the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Bloggers.” Susan was the recipient of a prestigious Knight Foundation fellowship in nonprofits and politics. She served as Deputy Editor for MIRS News and helped launch the Michigan Truth Squad, the Center for Michigan’s fact-checking project. She started her journalism career reporting on the Iowa caucuses for The (Cedar Rapids) Gazette. Susan has hiked over 3,000 solo miles across four continents and climbed more than 60 mountains. She also enjoys dragging her husband and two teenagers along, even if no one else wants to sleep in a tent anymore.