POLITICS

Amy Coney Barrett Confirmation Hearings To Begin Oct. 12, Sen. Lindsey Graham Says

The Senate Judiciary Committee chairman said he hopes to hand over Barrett's confirmation process to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell by Oct. 26.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said Saturday that confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett are scheduled to begin Oct. 12.

“That’d be 16 days from nomination,” Graham told Fox News’ Jeanine Pirro, adding that confirmation hearings for 24 of the 42 Supreme Court justices were held within 16 days of their nominations.

He said opening statements from the committee and Barrett will take place on Oct. 12, a Monday. Tuesday and Wednesday of that week will allow committee members to question Barrett before the committee begins the markup process on Thursday.

Graham said he hopes to “get her out of the committee” by Oct. 26.

“That’d be up to [Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell what to do after that,” Graham told Pirro when asked when the full Senate would potentially vote on whether to confirm Barrett.

During an interview Sunday on Fox News, Graham said he expects to report out the committee’s recommendation on Barrett on Oct. 22, less than two weeks before Election Day.

President Donald Trump nominated Barrett on Saturday to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. If confirmed, she would be the youngest justice on the bench and would give the court a 6-3 conservative majority.

Barrett has a judicial record of being against abortion access, startling women’s rights activists who fear her confirmation could lead to the overturning of Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision establishing a woman’s right to an abortion under the Constitution.

Democrats have accused Republicans of being hypocrites in their efforts to push through Barrett’s confirmation before the Nov. 3 election. In 2016, McConnell blocked Merrick Garland, then-President Barack Obama’s pick to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia, from ever having a confirmation hearing.

McConnell said at the time that Garland’s confirmation would have been too close to the 2016 presidential election and that whoever won that election should pick the nominee. But McConnell and many of Trump’s Republican allies, including Graham, have been pushing to quickly fill Ginsburg’s seat.

Scalia died 269 days before the 2016 presidential election. Ginsburg died 46 days before the 2020 presidential election.

“I want you to use my words against me,” Graham said in 2016. “If there’s a Republican president in 2016 and a vacancy occurs in the last year of the first term, you can say Lindsey Graham said, ‘Let’s let the next president, whoever it might be, make that nomination.’ And you could use my words against me and you’d be absolutely right.”

Graham has attributed his flip-flopping on the issue to the “treatment” of Justice Brett Kavanaugh during his explosive confirmation hearings in 2018, which centered around Christine Blasey Ford’s accusation that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were in high school.

“The nominee will be challenged and that’s appropriate to challenge the nominee,” Graham said Saturday. “But if [Democrats] treat Judge Barrett like they did Justice Kavanaugh, it’s gonna blow up in their face big time.”

“Why is it that conservatives got treated this badly?” he continued. “If they continue this pattern of trying to demean this outstanding nominee, I think the American people will push back and push back hard. Kavanaugh really did help Republicans pick up Senate seats because [Democrats] went too far.”

A majority of voters ― about 56% ― said whoever wins the election in November should nominate Ginsburg’s replacement, according to a poll released Sunday by The New York Times and Siena College. That same poll showed Biden with an 8-point lead over Trump nationally.

At least two Senate Democrats have floated the possibility of boycotting Barrett’s confirmation hearings, though Democratic officials told The Washington Post there was little appetite among party members for doing so.

“There’s nothing unusual about the time period,” Graham said Saturday, defending the Republican rush to get Barrett confirmed before Election Day. “We’ve never confirmed somebody in an election year after July. But I expect [Democrats] will show up.”