WASHINGTON, Sept 29 (Reuters) – The sprint to confirm Amy Coney Barrett to become President Donald Trump’s third conservative appointee to the U.S. Supreme Court begins in earnest on Tuesday as the jurist meets with lawmakers at the U.S. Capitol, starting with Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Barrett will meet McConnell in the morning in what will be a day packed with informal visits, part of a long-standing tradition leading into multi-day confirmation hearings set to begin on Oct. 12.
Barrett is also scheduled on Tuesday to meet Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham at 5:30 p.m. EDT (2130 GMT), as well as other Republican Judiciary Committee members, including Senators Chuck Grassley, Mike Lee and Mike Crapo.
Public hearings for a high court nominee are a highly anticipated event.
The nominee will face questions about her judicial philosophy and approach to the law. Barrett, 48, previously sat for a hearing when she was appointed by Trump to the Chicago-based 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in 2017.
If Barrett is confirmed by the Senate, as expected, she would further tilt the court to the right, entrenching a 6-3 conservative majority.
Democrats are fiercely opposing Barrett, who would replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a champion of gender equality and other liberal causes. She died on Sept. 18 at age 87.
Democrats argue the vacancy should be filled after the next president is chosen on Nov. 3, a view shared by a majority of Americans, according to recent national polls. Trump’s Republican allies, who hold a 53-47 majority in the Senate, have vowed to follow a compressed timeline to confirm her before then.
Graham has said that his committee will likely vote on the nomination on Oct. 22, setting up a final vote on the Senate floor by the end of the month.
Democratic opposition to Barrett has so far been focused on her possible role as a deciding vote in a case set for argument at the Supreme Court on Nov. 10 in which Trump and fellow Republicans are asking the justices to strike down the Obamacare health law known formally as the Affordable Care Act.
As a federal appellate judge, Barrett has proven reliably conservative, voting in favor of one of Trump’s hard-line immigration policies and showing support for expansive gun rights.
7 PHOTOSamy coney barrettSee Galleryamy coney barrettPresident Donald Trump walks with Judge Amy Coney Barrett to a news conference to announce Barrett as his nominee to the Supreme Court, in the Rose Garden at the White House, Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)President Donald Trump adjusts the microphone after he announced Judge Amy Coney Barrett as his nominee to the Supreme Court, in the Rose Garden at the White House, Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)Judge Amy Coney Barrett speaks after President Donald Trump announced her as his nominee to the Supreme Court, in the Rose Garden at the White House, Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)US President Donald Trump walks by Judge Amy Coney Barrett(R) as she and some of her children gather in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC, on September 26, 2020. – Trump nominated Barrett to the US Supreme Court. (Photo by Olivier DOULIERY / AFP) (Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images)U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit Judge Amy Coney Barrett, a law professor at Notre DameUniversity, poses in an undated photograph obtained from Notre Dame University September 19, 2020.Matt Cashore/Notre Dame University/Handout via REUTERS. THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY.U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit Judge Amy Coney Barrett reacts as U.S President Donald Trump holds an event to announce her as his nominee to fill the Supreme Court seat left vacant by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died on September 18, at the White House in Washington, U.S., September 26, 2020. REUTERS/Carlos BarriaWASHINGTON, DC – SEPTEMBER 26: Seventh U.S. Circuit Court Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s family, including husband Jesse Barrett and their seven children, watch as President Donald Trump announces her as his nominees to the U.S. Supreme Court in the Rose Garden at the White House September 26, 2020 in Washington, DC. With 38 days until the election, Trump tapped Barrett to be his third Supreme Court nominee in just four years and to replace the late Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery on Tuesday. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)Up Next
Abortion rights groups said Barrett’s addition to the court could jeopardize the landmark 1973 ruling that made abortion legal nationwide.
Democrats are likely to seek a pledge from Barrett that she would recuse herself if election-related issues reach the court next month. (Reporting by Andrew Chung in New York and Lawrence Hurley, Daphne Psaledakis and Susan Cornwell in Washington; Editing by Richard Cowan and Cynthia Osterman)
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