Confirmation Hearings for Trump’s Supreme Court Pick Start Oct. 12

September 27, 2020 Updated: September 27, 2020

The confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett will begin on Oct. 12.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) announced the schedule shortly after President Donald Trump announced Barrett’s nomination.

The hearings will last three to four days as they have been for recent Supreme Court nominees. The committee will hear openings from all the senators on Oct. 12 and begin the first round of questions for judge on Oct. 13. Testimony by people who know Barrett as well as legal experts will follow.

“As the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, I’m very committed to ensuring that the nominee gets a challenging, fair, and respectful hearing,” Graham said in a statement. “We move forward on this nomination knowing that the President has picked a highly qualified individual who will serve our nation well on the highest court in the land.”

Trump announced and Barrett accepted the nomination at the White House in Washington. The judge’s husband and seven children watched seating alongside first lady Melania Trump.

“I looked and I studied, and you are very eminently qualified for this job,” Trump said, describing Barrett as “one of the nation’s most brilliant and gifted legal minds.”

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away on Sept. 18, vacating the seat she held on the high court since 1993. She was considered the leader of the liberal side of the bench.

Barrett is a conservative judge who has been described as a “textualist-originalist.” If confirmed, she would shift the balance on the Supreme Court for what could be decades.

The committee hearings will conclude with a vote to recommend Barrett’s confirmation to the full Senate. Republicans hold a 53-47  majority in the Senate.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has said Trump’s nominee will get a vote on the Senate floor this year, though he hasn’t committed to a vote before the election.

Top Democrats including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) have said they’ll go to great lengths to try to block the nomination.

“Everything is on the table,” Schumer told reporters this week.

Democrats want to stall the nomination and eventually stymie it, but lack support across the aisle beyond Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska). Murkowski later said she could not rule out voting for Trump’s nominee. Graham has said the GOP has enough votes.

Barrett’s nomination to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in 2017 was supported by every member of her Supreme Court clerk class, including the clerk for Ginsburg and other liberal justices on the bench.

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