US Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett was meeting top Republican senators on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, September 29, to prepare for a confirmation vote the party hopes to conclude before the November 3 presidential election.
Barrett, 48, started her busy day with a meeting with Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.
She was to hold one-on-one meetings with several other leading Republican senators before wrapping up her day with Lindsey Graham, the senator from South Carolina who will chair her confirmation hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
President Donald Trump nominated Barrett, a darling of conservatives, to replace the late liberal justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to a lifetime seat on the top US court, potentially impacting some of the most partisan issues in America, from abortion to gun rights to health care.
Trump’s decision to push her nomination through just weeks before the November 3 election, in which polls show he is the underdog, has galvanized Democrats, who are calling for the decision to be made by the winner of the vote.
Senator Chuck Schumer, the leader of the Democratic minority in the Republican-controlled Senate, said he would not be meeting Barrett.
“I am not going to meet with Judge Barrett,” Schumer tweeted. “Why would I meet with a nominee of such an illegitimate process.”
Several other Democratic senators also said they would decline to meet with Barrett – but at least one Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Cory Booker of New Jersey, said he would do so.
“One of the things I want to ask her is will she recuse herself in terms of any election issues that come before us,” Booker said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
“Because if she does not recuse herself, I fear that the court will be further delegitimized,” Booker said.
The Judiciary Committee is slated to begin Barrett’s confirmation hearings on October 12 with the full Senate voting on her nomination ahead of the presidential election between Trump and Democrat Joe Biden.
Barring a huge surprise, Republicans, who hold 53 of the 100 seats in the Senate, are expected to confirm Barrett.
If so, Barrett would expand the conservative wing’s sometimes shaky 5-4 advantage on the court to a solid 6-3.
Trump has previously filled two of the 9 seats on the high court. – Rappler.com
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