Confirmation hearings for Judge Amy Coney Barrett, President Donald Trump’s latest U.S. Supreme Court nominee, will begin Oct. 12, with Senate Republicans planning to vote her out of committee and onto the Senate floor before the Nov. 3 election.
U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, the South Carolina Republican who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, told Fox News on Sunday “more than half of the Supreme Court justices who have had hearings were done within 16 days or less, so we’ll start on Oct. 12.”
The GOP’s plan maps out 16 days between a nomination and a hearing.
On Saturday, Trump announced Barrett as his U.S. Supreme Court pick to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Ginsburg died Sept. 18 at age 87 after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. Her death left a vacancy on the nation’s highest court and has set off another fierce political battle with only weeks before Americans reelect Trump to another term or replace him with Democratic White House nominee Joe Biden.
Biden and his fellow Democrats have been protesting GOP efforts to replace Ginsburg so close to the November presidential election, saying voters should speak first on Election Day, and the winner of the White House should fill the vacancy. No court nominee in U.S. history has been considered so close to a presidential election.
Democrats also are accusing Republicans of hypocrisy, after the GOP-led Senate refused to hold confirmation hearings for Merrick Garland in 2016. Then-President Barack Obama nominated Garland to replace the late Antonin Scalia, but the Senate refused to hold confirmation hearings until after the November presidential election.
On Monday, the Democratic National Committee launched an ad in Georgia accusing Trump of rushing the nomination to end health care protections for people with preexisting conditions.
The ad features a woman named Samantha, who says that she, her husband and her young daughter all have preexisting health conditions and have all had COVID-19 since the pandemic arrived in the U.S. in March.
On Sunday, Biden also tied Barrett’s nomination to the future of health care.
“(Republicans) see an opportunity to overturn the Affordable Care Act on their way out the door,” Biden said in remarks in Delaware. “The Trump administration is asking the Supreme Court right now, as I speak, to eliminate the entire Affordable Care Act.”