The easy part is over. On Saturday, President Donald Trump nominated Amy Coney Barrett, a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit, to replace Ruth Bader on the Supreme Court.
Barrett will now have to face scrutiny before the U.S. Senate, starting with an elaborate questionnaire, The New York Times reported. The nominee will also begin calling and meeting with senators as they sift through her background.
That could be an easy process, since Barrett was vetted by the Senate when Trump nominated her to the U.S. Court of Appeals in 2017.
However, some lawmakers, like Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn, have said they will not meet with Barrett.
“This is not normal because Trump and my Republican colleagues have robbed this process of any legitimacy,” Blumenthal told The Washington Post on Friday. “The selection of the next justice should be done by the next president and the next Congress.”
A spokesperson for Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, confirmed she would not meet with the nominee, according to the Post.
Sen. Kamala Harris, D-California, the party’s vice-presidential candidate who is a member of the committee that will hold the Supreme Court confirmation hearings, did not comment, the newspaper reported,
The 22 members of the Judiciary Committee, which is led by Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, are expected to hold confirmation hearings for four consecutive days beginning Oct. 12, the Times reported.
The exact time frame is expected to be confirmed later Saturday. A Republican aide involved in the process said Graham will announce the hearing schedule during a television appearance on Fox News at 9 p.m. Saturday.
If the Oct. 12 date is correct, that is faster than recent Supreme Court nominations, the Times reported.
The Republicans have a 53-47 advantage in the Senate, and even if GOP Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska vote against confirmation before November’s presidential election, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell apparently has the votes to confirm Barrett.
In a statement, Murkowski said that despite her opposition, she will meet with Barrett.
“For weeks I have stated that I do not support taking up a potential Supreme Court vacancy this close to an election," Murkowski said. "But today the President exercised his constitutional authority to nominate an individual to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court left by the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. I welcome the opportunity to meet with the Supreme Court nominee, just as I did in 2016.”
Confirming Barrett quickly is important to the GOP because the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments in November in a case about the Affordable Care Act.
Joe Biden, the Democratic nominee for president who is opposing Trump in the Nov. 3 general election, said he opposed Barrett’s nomination.
“She has a written track record of disagreeing with the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision upholding the Affordable Care Act. She critiqued Chief Justice John Roberts' majority opinion upholding the law in 2012,” Biden wrote on his website.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York, also expressed concerns about Barrett’s nomination.
“The American people should make no mistake -- a vote by any Senator for Judge Amy Coney Barrett is a vote to strike down the Affordable Care Act and eliminate protections for millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions,” Schumer wrote in a statement.
After the hearings, the committee will vote on whether to recommend the nomination to the full Senate, the Times reported. That date is expected to be Oct. 22, the newspaper reported. Then the full Senate would vote on whether to confirm Barrett during the final week of October.
Cox Media Group