U.S. President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Amy Coney Barrett, meets informally Tuesday with senators on Capitol Hill, kicking off an accelerated confirmation process that Republicans intend to complete before the November 3 presidential election in the face of Democratic opposition.
Barrett, who would be Trump’s third conservative appointee to the nation’s highest court if confirmed by the Senate, meets first with Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell.
She will also meet with Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, Republican committee members Mike Crapo, Chuck Grassley, Mike Lee and other Republican senators.
The informal meetings are part of a traditional process leading to confirmation hearings that are set to begin on October 12. A Barrett confirmation would give the court a clear 6-3 conservative majority.
Graham has said the Judiciary Committee will probably vote on Barrett’s nomination on October 22, paving the way for a vote before the full Senate, where Trump’s Republican allies have a 53-47 majority.
Democrats are strongly opposed to Barrett and Republicans’ acceleration of the confirmation process. They maintain the winner of the presidential election should nominate a successor to liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died on September 18 at the age of 87. Most Americans also share that perspective, according to national polls.
Barrett currently serves on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit after being nominated by Trump and confirmed by the Senate in 2017.
Since her confirmation to the 7th Circuit, Barrett has authored more than 100 opinions that have consistently reflected her conservative values.
The 48-year-old Barrett is a devout Catholic who is very popular among conservative evangelical Christians, arguably Trump’s most loyal supporters. Abortion rights groups are concerned that Barrett’s confirmation could threaten the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized abortion in the U.S.
As a professor at Notre Dame Law School, Barrett expressed some criticism of the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade, which protects a pregnant woman’s right to have an abortion without unnecessary government restriction.
Democrats also have voiced concerns that Barrett could cast a deciding vote in a Supreme Court case on November 10, in which Trump and Republican allies are asking the court to strike down Obamacare, a nationwide health care law known formally as the Affordable Care Act.