Washington — The Senate Judiciary Committee is holding the fourth and final day of hearings on the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett on Thursday ahead of a committee vote slated for next week.
Republicans have the votes to send her confirmation to the full floor for a vote, but committee Chairman Lindsey Graham announced her nomination would be held over for one week, as is customary under committee rules.
After a vote by the Republican-led panel, the Judiciary Committee officially scheduled a vote to approve Barrett’s nomination for October 22 at 1 p.m., after which it will be sent to the Senate floor.
Democrats on the panel made motions to adjourn the proceedings — though they were then withdrawn — and indefinitely delay Barrett’s nomination. They argued that it was inappropriate to rush through Barrett’s nomination so close to the November 3 election.
“This is a sham,” Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar said. “We should allow the winner of the election to pick this nominee.”
Democratic Senator Dick Durbin argued that there had been “a denigration of the process to the point where it’s almost useless,” noting that Barrett had refused to answer several questions which would seem to have simple answers. She declined to say whether the president could unilaterally delay an election or prevent someone from voting, both of which are unconstitutional, or whether she believed climate change existed. Barrett did not answer because she said that she did not want to become involved in political matters.
“I would be afraid to ask her about the presence of gravity on Earth. She may decline to answer because it may come up in a case,” Durbin said.
The October 22 vote by the Judiciary Committee tees up a vote by the full Senate the week before the election. With Republicans’ three-seat majority, her confirmation is all but assured.
On Thursday, the committee will hear testimony from two representatives from the American Bar Association, which rated Barrett as “well qualified” this week. Lawmakers will also hear from eight witnesses, four chosen by Democrats and four chosen by Republicans. Barrett is not attending Thursday’s proceedings.
How to watch the Amy Coney Barrett Senate hearing
- What: Senate Judiciary hearings on the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court
- Date: Thursday, October 15
- Time: 9 a.m. ET
- Location: Capitol Hill
- Online stream: Live on CBSN — in the player above and on your mobile or streaming device
On Tuesday and Wednesday, Barrett refused to give her opinion on contested legal issues that may come before the Supreme Court, including health care, abortion, and other areas — an approach taken by other Supreme Court nominees before her.
Democrats pushed Barrett on how closely her jurisprudence would follow that of her mentor, the late Justice Antonin Scalia, since Barrett has said they shared the same judicial philosophy. She reiterated that while both believed in the theory of originalism — interpreting the Constitution based on the Founders’ intentions — she would not necessarily decide cases in the same manner.
“I assure you I have my own mind. Everything that he said is not necessarily what I would agree with or what I would do if I was Justice Barrett,” Barrett said of Scalia.