Senate GOP eyes Oct. 26 for confirming Barrett to Supreme Court
Confirmation hearing for Trump's Supreme Court pick to start Oct. 12
The Senate Judiciary Committee will start its hearing for Amy Coney Barrett, President Trump's Supreme Court nominee, on Oct. 12.
The schedule will pave the way for Republicans to hold a vote on the nomination before the Nov. 3 election, setting a record for the closest date to a presidential election that a Supreme Court pick has been confirmed.
Though other nominees have been confirmed in fewer days, they were further away from the presidential election.
Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) formally announced the hearing schedule on Saturday night after Trump named Barrett as his pick to succeed the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court.
The hearing is expected to last three to four days.
Graham, during the Fox News interview, indicated that he could put Barrett's nomination on the committee's business agenda for the first time on Thursday, Oct. 15. Because of committee rules, that would likely set up a committee vote for Thursday, Oct. 22.
"We'll start on the 12th, we'll have four days of hearings and then we'll hold over the nomination for a week ... and hopefully we'll come to the floor around the 26th," Graham said.
Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, Trump's first two Supreme Court nominees, both had nearly two months between their formal nominations and the start of their hearings.
Under the schedule set by Graham, Barrett will have little more than two weeks.
Graham pledged that he would hold the hearings early enough that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) would be able to hold a vote on the Senate floor before Nov. 3. Graham's schedule would set up a floor vote for the final week of October.
"We've got the votes to confirm Justice Ginsburg's replacement before the election. We're going to move forward in the committee. We're going to report the nomination out of the committee to the floor of the United States Senate so we can vote before the election," Graham told Fox News earlier this month.
Barrett's confirmation hearings are expected to follow a similar schedule to previous nominees, meaning it will last a total of four days: one for opening statements, two for questions and one for outside experts, the source confirmed.
The hearings will give Democrats their one public opportunity to grill her on a host of issues such as health care and a looming Supreme Court case that could decide the fate of the Affordable Care Act.
But they are powerless to stop Barrett's nomination on their own. Barrett's nomination for her seat on the United States Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit was approved by the Judiciary Committee in 2017 along party lines, and every Republican supported her.
No Judiciary Committee Republican has signaled they have reservations about Barrett, and Graham predicted earlier this month that she would get the support of every GOP senator on the panel. GOP members of the Judiciary Committee have met in the Capitol this week to talk about strategy and timing.
"We're going to have a process that you will be proud of. The nominee is going to be supported by every Republican in the Judiciary Committee. And we've got the votes to confirm the ... justice on the floor of the Senate before the election, and that's what is coming," Graham told Fox News.
Updated 9:52 p.m.