President Trump announced on Saturday that he is nominating Amy Coney Barrett, a decidedly faith-based and conservative judge, to fill the Supreme Court seat left vacant by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death a little over a week ago.
Barrett, who clerked for former Justice Antonin Scalia and has been a federal judge for just three years, could be seated on the highest court in the land even before election day November, reports the Washington Post.
Despite infamously blocking then-President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland, from being confirmed because it was the year of the election in 2016, Senate Republicans have already indicated their plans to move forward with confirming Trump’s nominee mere weeks away from election day in November.
Senate Republicans were preparing to accelerate the confirmation process as soon as the announcement was made, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) planning to meet with Barrett on Tuesday, according to an aide.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) confirmed in an interview with Fox News on Saturday night that the hearings for Barrett will begin Oct. 12 with opening statements, with questions set to take place Oct. 13 and 14. There will be testimony from outside witnesses at some point, he said, and the committee process will begin Oct. 15 — meaning a panel vote on Barrett’s nomination could come as early as Oct. 22 under Judiciary rules.
If confirmed, 48-year-old Barrett would sit alongside fellow Trump nominees Justice Brett Kavanaugh and Justice Neil Gorsuch, as well as other judges elected by Republican presidents, to create a conservative majority on the Supreme Court.
With a record of legal opinions that appear to be the antithesis of Ginsburg’s, Barrett’s confirmation would likely be a threat to both the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and Roe v. Wade—frequent targets of Republican lawmakers.
“I never imagined that I would find myself in this position, but now that I am, I assure you that I will meet the challenge with both humility and courage,” Barrett said at the White House on Saturday after Trump’s announcement of her nomination.
The president later told supporters at a rally in Pennsylvania that his pick for the Supreme Court would defend their God-given rights and freedoms.
Meanwhile Democratic Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, as well the party’s presidential nominee Joe Biden and his running mate Sen. Kamala Harris all lambasted Trump’s nomination of Barrett—primarily for how she may contribute to the dismantling of the ACA.
“In the midst of a global health pandemic, the Trump Administration is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the entire law, including its protections for people with pre-existing conditions.” Biden said. “[Barrett] has a written track record of disagreeing with the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision upholding the Affordable Care Act.”
But if the Democrats or any one of us are still under any delusions about Republicans capacity for hypocrisy, depravity, and setting aflame all pretenses at actual democracy, this whole predictable tragedy should clear it up quickly. As should the fact that the GOP is now shamelessly selling merch that calls Trump’s nominee the “Notorious A.C.B.”