The Republican-led U.S. Senate on Thursday moved a step closer to confirming President Donald Trump’s U.S. Supreme Court choice Amy Coney Barrett, with the Judiciary Committee scheduling an Oct. 22 vote on her nomination despite Democratic objections.
The fourth and final day of the committee’s confirmation hearing for the conservative appellate judge wrapped up with testimony from outside experts. Democrats protested what they called the rushed nature of the proceedings and complained that Barrett had sidestepped questions about presidential powers, abortion, climate change, voting rights and Obamacare.
Republicans are aiming for a final confirmation vote on the Senate floor by the end of October following next week’s committee vote.
“I believe that this rushed, sham process is a disservice to our committee,” Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal said. “She has been rushed in a way that is historically unprecedented … and the purpose of doing it is simply to have a justice on the Supreme Court, as the president said, to decide the election and to strike down the Affordable Care Act.”
The Republican president has asked the Senate to confirm Barrett before the Nov. 3 U.S. election in which he is seeking a second term in office. Trump has said he expects the court to decide the election’s outcome.
With Republicans holding a 53-47 Senate majority, her confirmation seems assured. Barrett’s confirmation would give the Supreme Court a 6-3 conservative majority. Barrett, 48, could serve for decades, alongside Trump’s two other Supreme Court selections, Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch.
“There is no way you will ever convince me that Amy Coney Barrett is not qualified, using any reasonable standards of qualification,” said Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, the committee chairman.