Senate GOP set to vote on Trump's Supreme Court pick before election

Senate Republicans are preparing a speedy confirmation process for Amy Coney Barrett, President TrumpDonald TrumpEx-DOJ official Rosenstein says he was not aware of subpoena targeting Democrats: report Ex-Biden adviser says Birx told him she hoped election turned out 'a certain way' Cheney rips Arizona election audit: 'It is an effort to subvert democracy' MORE's third Supreme Court pick, setting up a final vote before the election. 

The timeline will keep an explosive fight over the country's top court at the forefront of the final 38 days before Nov. 3, where both control of Congress and the White House are up for grabs. 

Trump formally named Barrett as his pick during a televised White House event setting the wheels of the Senate GOP confirmation process in motion.


Barrett — who like all Supreme Court nominees will need to fill out a committee questionnaire and undergo an FBI background check — is set to start meeting with senators, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMaher goes after Manchin: 'Most powerful Republican in the Senate' Supreme Court confounding its partisan critics Why the Democrats need Joe Manchin MORE (R-Ky.), as soon as Tuesday. 

McConnell, on Saturday, vowed that Barrett will get a vote on the Senate floor in the “weeks ahead.” 

“The Court, the Senate, and the American people — not to mention the nominee and her family — deserve a fair process that is focused on Judge Barrett’s qualifications. I hope all 100 Senators will treat this serious process with the dignity and respect it should command,” McConnell said in a statement. 

Her confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee will start in just over two weeks on Oct. 12, three people familiar with the schedule confirmed to The Hill. Graham confirmed the schedule during an interview with Fox News on Saturday night, with the hearings expected to last three to four days. 

Graham is expected to formally announce the schedule during an interview on Fox News on Saturday night. 

McConnell did not explicitly name a date for a final confirmation vote on the Senate floor, but has said he would base the timing off of Graham's Judiciary schedule. With the hearing taking place the week of the 12th, that would set up a final vote on the Senate floor during the week of Oct. 26. 


Graham, during his Fox News interview, indicated that he could put Barrett’s nomination on the committee business agenda on Thursday, Oct. 15. Because Democrats are able to delay the nomination for a week 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.

The roughly two-week turnaround time between Trump's announcement and the start of the hearing is a significantly faster timeline than the confirmations of Justices Neil GorsuchNeil GorsuchSupreme Court confounding its partisan critics Gorsuch, Thomas join liberal justices in siding with criminal defendant Supreme Court justice denies Colorado churches' challenge to lockdown authority MORE or Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughSupreme Court confounding its partisan critics Gorsuch, Thomas join liberal justices in siding with criminal defendant Alyssa Milano says she could 'potentially run' for House in 2024 MORE, Trump’s first two Supreme Court nominees.

Trump announced that he would nominate Gorsuch on January 31, 2017, and his Judiciary Committee hearing started on March 20. Trump made his announcement about Kavanaugh on July 9 and his first Judiciary Committee hearing started on Sept. 4. 

But Graham vowed that he would schedule the hearing early enough to allow for a Senate vote before Nov. 3 —q time frame pushed by Trump and a growing number of GOP senators.

“I have every confidence she will be confirmed before Election Day,” Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzBiden tries to erase Trump's 'America First' on world stage Cotton, Pentagon chief tangle over diversity training in military GOP senators press Justice Department to compare protest arrests to Capitol riot MORE (R-Texas), a member of the Judiciary Committee, said on Saturday. 

Only two Republicans — Sens. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsSunday shows preview: Biden foreign policy in focus as Dem tensions boil up back home Why the Democrats need Joe Manchin White House briefed on bipartisan infrastructure deal but says questions remain MORE (Maine) and Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiWhite House briefed on bipartisan infrastructure deal but says questions remain Bipartisan Senate group announces infrastructure deal The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden mission abroad: reward friends, constrain adversaries MORE (Alaska) — said a nominee should not get a vote before the election, after Republicans refused to give Merrick GarlandMerrick GarlandGarland sparks anger with willingness to side with Trump Garland vows fight against voting limits that violate law House Democrats push Garland for immigration court reforms MORE, former President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaArizona election audit draws Republican tourists Biden tries to erase Trump's 'America First' on world stage Queen Elizabeth will need to call upon her charm for Biden's visit MORE’s final Supreme Court nominee, a hearing or a vote. 

An aide for Collins told The Hill that she would be willing to meet with the nominee if Barrett requests a meeting, even though she has said she will vote “no” on any pick that comes up before No. 3. Murkowski also said in a statement on Saturday that she would be willing to meet with the nominee. 

Republicans view the Supreme Court as a boon in most battleground Senate races that could help drive voter turnout.

Waiting until after the election carries two risks: If Trump lost, it would force Republicans to decide if they would confirm a nominee for a lame-duck president. In addition, if Arizona Democratic Senate nominee Mark Kelly wins his election against Sen. Martha McSallyMartha Elizabeth McSallyMcGuire unveils Arizona Senate campaign On The Trail: Arizona is microcosm of battle for the GOP Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly welcome first grandchild MORE (R-Ariz.), he could be sworn in as soon as Nov. 30, narrowing the GOP majority. 

Republicans have defended the decision to hold a vote on Trump’s nominee, even after blocking Garland, arguing that the key differences is that in 2020, unlike in 2016, both the Senate and the White House are held by the same party. 

If Barrett is confirmed, it will be the closest to a presidential election that a Supreme Court nominee has been given the green light by the Senate. Senate staff disclosed to Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerIt's not just Manchin: No electoral mandate stalls Democrats' leftist agenda DOJ to probe Trump-era subpoenas of lawmaker records Democrats demand Barr, Sessions testify on Apple data subpoenas MORE (D-N.Y.) that there did not appear to be a precedent for confirming a Supreme Court nominee between July and the election. 


Democrats went on the offense against Barrett on Saturday night, warning that she would be the “deciding vote” on the Supreme Court striking down the Affordable Care Act and they ripped Republicans for agreeing to move on her nomination despite the looming election and their 2016 stance. 

But with only a simple majority, Democrats are powerless to stop Barrett’s nomination on their own. 

“President Trump and Leader McConnell are doing what no Senate has done before: shamelessly rushing to fill Justice Ginsburg’s seat less than 40 days before a presidential election. Justice Ginsburg’s dying wish was that she not be replaced until a new president is installed. Republicans are poised to not only ignore her wishes, but to replace her with someone who could tear down everything that she built. This reprehensible power grab is a cynical attack on the legitimacy of the Court,” Schumer said in a statement. 

Two Democrats on the Judiciary Committee—Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Mazie HironoMazie Keiko HironoWhite House gets back to pre-COVID-19 normality Biden signs anti-Asian hate crimes bill into law House sends anti-Asian hate bill to Biden's desk MORE (D-Hawaii)—have said they will not meet with Barrett. 

Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinProgressives want to tighten screws beyond Manchin and Sinema 'If this thing qualifies, I'm toast': An oral history of the Gray Davis recall in California The big myths about recall elections MORE (D-Calif.), the top Democrat on the committee, argued that a nominee should not be taken up until after the presidential inauguration in January. She did not address in her statement if she will meet with Barrett if Trump’s pick requests a meeting. 

“Judge Amy Coney Barrett clearly passes the president’s conservative litmus tests or he wouldn’t have nominated her. Judge Barrett’s record shows she would push the Supreme Court further to the right, putting many rights and protections that the American people have fought for and deeply cherish at risk,” she said. 

Updated 9:44 p.m.