The Senate Judiciary Committee has opened the first of four days of confirmation hearings for President Trump’s choice to fill Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s seat on the Supreme Court, Judge Amy Coney Barrett.
Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham delivered an opening statement, followed by Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein. The rest of the senators on the 22-member committee have 10 minutes each to speak, alternating between parties.
Graham defended moving forward with Barrett’s nomination so close to the election, saying the Senate “is doing its duty constitutionally.” Feinstein focused on Barrett’s previous criticism of a Supreme Court ruling upholding the Affordable Care Act and said the Senate should not vote to confirm a nominee just weeks before the election, offering a preview of Democrats’ strategy for the hearings.
Following their remarks, Barrett will be introduced by Todd Young and Michael Braun, the two Republican senators from her home state of Indiana, as well as Professor Patricia O’Hara of Notre Dame Law School, where Barrett taught before her nomination to be a federal judge in 2017. Barrett will then be sworn in and deliver her opening statement.
According to her prepared remarks, Barrett plans to tell senators that in every case she has ruled on in her three years as a federal judge on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, “I have carefully considered the arguments presented by the parties, discussed the issues with my colleagues on the court, and done my utmost to reach the result required by the law, whatever my own preferences might be.”
On Tuesday and Wednesday, senators will be able to question the Supreme Court nominee. They’ll have two rounds, with 30 minutes in the first, and 20 minutes in the second. Outside witnesses will testify in support or opposition of Barrett’s nomination on Thursday.
John Nolen, Alan He and Caroline Linton contributed to this report.