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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 John TrumpJudge rules to not release Russia probe documents over Trump tweets Trump and advisers considering firing FBI director after election: WaPo Obama to campaign for Biden in Florida 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.

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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 McConnellOn The Money: Power players play chess match on COVID-19 aid | Pelosi bullish, Trump tempers optimism | Analysis: Nearly 1M have run out of jobless benefits Trump casts doubt on hopes for quick stimulus deal after aides expressed optimism Power players play chess match on COVID-19 aid 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. 

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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's Pennsylvania mail ballot ruling tees up test for Barrett 51 percent want Barrett seated on Supreme Court: poll Supreme Court denies GOP bid to block extended mail ballot due date in Pennsylvania MORE or Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughSusan Collins and the American legacy The Senate should evoke RBG in its confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett Supreme Court's Pennsylvania mail ballot ruling tees up test for Barrett 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 CruzQuinnipiac poll finds Biden, Trump tied in Texas China could cut our access to critical minerals at any time — here's why we need to act The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Goldman Sachs - Two weeks out, Trump attempts to rally the base MORE (R-Texas), a member of the Judiciary Committee, said on Saturday. 

Only two Republicans — Sens. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsDemocrats to boycott committee vote on Amy Coney Barrett's Supreme Court nomination Power players play chess match on COVID-19 aid Senate is leaning to the Democrats, big time, with a wave MORE (Maine) and Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiDemocrats to boycott committee vote on Amy Coney Barrett's Supreme Court nomination Senate to vote Monday to confirm Amy Coney Barrett to Supreme Court Senate GOP eyes Oct. 26 for confirming Barrett to Supreme Court MORE (Alaska) — said a nominee should not get a vote before the election, after Republicans refused to give Merrick GarlandMerrick Brian GarlandDemocrats to boycott committee vote on Amy Coney Barrett's Supreme Court nomination The Senate should evoke RBG in its confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett Democrats seem unlikely to move against Feinstein MORE, former President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaObama to campaign for Biden in Florida Jaime Harrison on Lindsey Graham postponing debate: 'He's on the verge of getting that one-way ticket back home' Quinnipiac poll reports Biden leading Trump by 8 points in Pennsylvania 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 McSallySenate is leaning to the Democrats, big time, with a wave Cunningham, Tillis locked in tight race in North Carolina: poll Senate Republicans offer constitutional amendment to block Supreme Court packing 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 SchumerTrump casts doubt on hopes for quick stimulus deal after aides expressed optimism Schumer says he had 'serious talk' with Feinstein, declines to comment on Judiciary role Democrats seem unlikely to move against Feinstein MORE (D-N.Y.) that there did not appear to be a precedent for confirming a Supreme Court nominee between July and the election. 

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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 HironoDurbin signals he isn't interested in chairing Judiciary Committee Democrats seem unlikely to move against Feinstein Senate Democrats call for ramped up Capitol coronavirus testing MORE (D-Hawaii)—have said they will not meet with Barrett. 

Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinDemocrats to boycott committee vote on Amy Coney Barrett's Supreme Court nomination The Senate should evoke RBG in its confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Goldman Sachs - Pelosi, Mnuchin push stimulus talks forward, McConnell applies brakes 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.