Republican Senators swiftly sent the nomination of Donald Trump's third pick to the US Supreme Court to the full Senate, where the GOP-controlled body is expected to officially name Amy Coney Barrett the latest justice on the nation's high court as soon as Monday, a week from Election Day.
Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee did not attend the meeting on Thursday, after Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called the hearings and confirmation a “sham process” that undermines the legitimacy of the court.
"Fearing a loss at the ballot box, Republicans are showing that they do not care about the rules or what the American people want, but are concerned only with raw political power," Senator Schumer and Democrats said in a statement.
In their place, Democrats on the committee placed placards of people who have benefitted from the Affordable Care Act, which the Trump administration has sought to dismantle pending a favourable Supreme Court decision. Judge Barrett’s addition to the bench will ensure a conservative majority that Democrats fear will jeopardise several critical precedents.
"We will not grant this process any further legitimacy by participating in a committee markup of this nomination just  days before the culmination of an election that is already underway," they added.
At Thursday’s meeting, Republican Senator and committee chair Lindsey Graham said its members "are not going to allow them to take over the committee.”
“They made a choice not to participate,” he said.