Judge Amy Coney Barrett will face the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday for the start of her Supreme Court confirmation hearings.
The grueling sessions are scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. each day through Thursday.
The proceedings are a key step before a final full Senate vote — expected by the end of the month — on Barrett’s nomination for a lifetime position on the court.
Here’s everything you need to know about the hearings:
Who is Barrett and how did she get nominated?
The president nominated Barrett on Sept. 26 to fill the seat of liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died earlier that month at 87.
Barrett, 48, is originally from Louisiana and attended Notre Dame University Law School on full scholarship.
A mom of seven and a Catholic, Barrett taught law at Notre Dame for 15 years before Trump nominated her to become a federal appeals court judge in 2017.
Republican Senate leaders rejected pleas from Democrats to delay the proceedings after two GOP members of the Judiciary Committee tested positive for the coronavirus in the days following the Sept. 26 Rose Garden ceremony where President Trump announced Barrett as his nominee.
Her confirmation hearings to the nine-member court will start less than a month after Ginsburg’s death, a sign of how urgently Republicans want to approve Barrett before the Nov. 3 election.
When do the hearings start and how can I watch?
The hearings kick off at 9 a.m. each day from Monday through Thursday.
Cable news networks as well as PBS, ABC, CBS and NBC will air the hearings live. They’ll also be available to stream online.
The sessions will be hybrid in-person and virtual, with senators having the option to join by teleconference after two Republicans on the committee, Sens. Thom Tillis of North Carolina and Mike Lee of Utah, contracted COVID-19.
Sen. Kamala Harris, a committee member and the Democratic vice presidential nominee, said on Sunday that she would participate remotely from her Senate office.
What should I expect?
Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif) will give opening statements on the first day of hearings Monday. The rest of the senators on the 22-member committee will then each have 10 minutes for their opening statements.
Following that, Sen. Todd Young (R-IN) and Patricia O’Hara, a former Notre Dame Law School dean, will each have five minutes to introduce Barrett.
Barrett will then deliver her opening remarks, in which she’s expected to tell senators that a seat on the Supreme Court would be the “honor of a lifetime” — while stressing that “no one will ever take” the place of late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, senators will have their chance to grill Barrett on live TV. The hearings are set to end on Thursday, with outside witnesses testifying about her qualifications.
What should I look out for?
Some Democrats have refused to meet with Barrett so the hearings could get heated — though not as explosive as the ones for Justice Brett Kavanaugh two years ago.
During those hearings in 2018, Sen. Kamala Harris snatched the spotlight with her fierce grilling of Kavanaugh, and, though she’s expected to question Barrett remotely, the Democratic vice presidential nominee could still play a starring role in the proceedings.
As the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, Sen. Dianne Feinstein will lead the questioning. But she’s still taking heat for her remarks during Barrett’s 2017 confirmation hearings to be a federal judge.
During questioning about Barrett’s Roman Catholic faith, Feinstein told her that: “when you read your speeches, the conclusion one draws is that the dogma lives loudly within you and that’s a concern.”
It’s possible that Barrett’s religion will come up again during the hearings.
Senators are likely to question her on hot-button issues, including abortion, Obamacare, gun control and on whether she would recuse herself if the high court hears a potential case tied to the 2020 presidential election.
What is the timeline for Barrett’s confirmation?
Following this week’s hearings, the Judiciary Committee is expected to vote on Barrett’s nomination on Oct. 22.
This would set up a full Senate vote to take place by the end of the month, paving the way for confirmation before the election.
What are the stakes?
The confirmation of Barrett gives Trump an opportunity to entrench a 6-3 conservative majority on the nation’s highest court, with his third justice.
With Post wires
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