The Supreme Court confirmation hearing for Donald Trump’s nominee Amy Coney Barrett will kick off on Monday, as initially scheduled by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Lindsey Graham, despite turmoil that occurred after two Republican senators, Thom Tillis from North Carolina and Mike Lee from Utah, tested positive for coronavirus.
If everything goes according to plan, Barrett’s candidacy can be confirmed before Election Day, despite strong opposition from the Democrats. The schedule for the hearing is the following:
- At 9 a.m. ET (13 p.m. GMT) on Monday all 22 senators, including Lindsey Graham and Dianne Feinstein, will present their opening statements before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
- Amy Coney Barrett will then be introduced to give her opening address and sworn in to testify before the Senate. According to Barrett’s prepared remarks seen by the Associated Press, in her speech the nominee is expected to praise late justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg while saying that “no one will ever take her place”.
- On Tuesday and Wednesday, Barrett will be questioned by lawmakers in relation to her background and career path. During Barrett’s Court of Appeals confirmation hearing held in September 2017, some Democratic senators used this opportunity to raise doubts as to whether the judge’s religious views could interfere with her court decisions. At the time, Barrett argued that her “personal church affiliation or my religious belief would not bear on the discharge of my duties as a judge".
© AP Photo / Demetrius FreemanJudge Amy Coney Barrett, President Donald Trumps nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court, meets with Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 1, 2020
- On 15 October, the Committee will hear testimonies from outside witness that will support or oppose Barrett’s candidacy.
- Graham earlier said that he expects that the Committee, which has a 12-10 Republican majority, will confirm the judge’s candidacy by 22 October.
- The issue will then go to the full Senate, where Republicans also hold a 53-seat majority. None of the 47 Democrats are expected to support Barrett and two Republican senators, Susan Collins from Maine and Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski, have also expressed opposition to Trump’s nomination, which they believed was too close to the November poll.
© AP Photo / Stefani ReynoldsSen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., speaks to Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020
- However, the Senate is still expected to confirm Barrett as a new Supreme Court Associate Justice, effectively establishing a 6-3 Conservative majority.
- The hearing will mostly be held in person, with coronavirus-stricken senators expected to take part in the procedure via telecom. Democratic Senator Kamala Harris also said that she will participate remotely due to precautionary measures related to the COVID-19 spread.
- The hearing is expected to be broadcasted live on the cable news networks and also PBS, NBC, ABC, and CBS.