President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett on Tuesday began meeting with senators as part of the Senate’s vetting process, beginning with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
Barrett, McConnell, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, White House counsel Pat Cipollone, and Vice President Mike Pence convened before Barrett began meeting with other senators.
Pence told reporters that Barrett is someone “of great character, of great intellect, who has a judicial philosophy that will uphold the Constitution of the United States.”
“We truly do believe that Judge Barrett represents the best of America, personally in terms of her great intellect, her great background and we have confidence that as the American people learn more about Amy Coney Barrett, they will be as inspired as President Trump was,” the vice president said later.
“We look forward to a vote in the Senate in the near future and to fill the seat on the Supreme Court of the United States, because the American people deserve a justice like Judge Amy Coney Barrett. The American people deserve nine justices on the Supreme Court of the United States.”
Barrett will be visiting with senators who are interested in speaking with her, McConnell said. Meetings will take place over the next several days.
“We’re pleased today to welcome Judge Barrett to begin the process of advise and consent in the Senate,” he told reporters.
Trump announced Barrett’s nomination over the weekend, calling her “eminently qualified for the job.” Barrett said she adheres to the judicial philosophy of late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, for whom she clerked.
“His judicial philosophy is mine too: a judge must apply the law as written. Judges are not policymakers and they must be resolute in setting aside any policy views they might hold,” she said at the nomination ceremony in the White House’s Rose Garden.
Barrett met with Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), who declined to answer whether he favors voting on her nomination before the Nov. 3 election, followed by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), both members of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Barrett will undergo questioning by committee members next month before they vote on whether to advance her nomination to the full Senate.
Grassley told reporters that Barrett “is an excellent candidate for the Supreme Court.”
Because Republicans hold a 53-47 majority in the Senate, and most support voting on Barrett at some point, political watchers believe she’ll be confirmed.
Some Senate Democrats vowed to do all they can to stop the nomination, but the second most powerful Democrat in the upper congressional chamber said that the party “can’t stop” the nomination unless more Republicans decide to oppose it as well.