by Susan Ferrechio, Chief Congressional Correspondent | | October 12, 2020 09:27 AM
Sen. Lindsey Graham opened the historic confirmation hearing of Judge Amy Coney Barrett by praising her as academically gifted and admired for integrity and by warning Democrats against repeating the process that dragged out the confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
Graham, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, on Monday outlined the Senate schedule to usher Barrett through the confirmation process and advance her to the Supreme Court, likely before the Nov. 3 election.
Graham, a South Carolina Republican, described Barrett as “in a category of excellence” that should make the nation proud but warned that the confirmation will take place in an election year.
“My Democratic colleagues will say, 'This has never been done,'” he said, countering, “The Senate is doing its duty, constitutionally,” even though no justice has been confirmed so close to an election.
Graham said there have been 19 justices confirmed in an election year, 17 of them when the White House and Senate parties were aligned.
Monday’s hearing will be composed of opening statements by senators and Barrett, who is now a court of appeals judge for the 7th Circuit, having been confirmed to that bench by the Senate in 2017. Senators will question Barrett on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Graham said the hearing is not about “persuading each other, unless something really dramatic happens,” but said it would give Democrats a chance to “dig deep into her philosophy” and serve the same purpose for the GOP.
“Most importantly, it gives you, the American people, the chance to find out about Judge Barrett,” Graham said. “Find out for yourself.”
Graham warned Democrats that Barrett “doesn’t deserve” the treatment of Kavanaugh, who was scrutinized in an additional hearing to air accusations by a former high school acquaintance who said he sexually assaulted her.
“Let’s remember — the world is watching,” Graham said.
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