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Politics Amy Coney Barrett hearings conclude: Here's what happens next in Supreme Court confirmation

00:15  16 october  2020
00:15  16 october  2020 Source:   usatoday.com

How we got here: The battle over Amy Coney Barrett's nomination to the Supreme Court, recapped

  How we got here: The battle over Amy Coney Barrett's nomination to the Supreme Court, recapped Supreme Court confirmation hearings are set to begin Monday for President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett as the fight to fill Ruth Bader Ginsburg's seat on the Supreme Court moves into its final phase. © Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett and President Donald Trump on Sept.26, 2020, in the Rose Garden of the White House. Though Republicans are speeding the process along, Barrett's confirmation will still take time. They plan to hold four days of confirmation hearings and to fill the seat by Election Day.

WASHINGTON – Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation hearings are over. The proceedings in the Senate Judiciary Committee didn’t appear to derail her nomination, keeping her on a fast track to be confirmed to the Supreme Court before Election Day.

Throughout the four days of hearings, senators peppered President Donald Trump's nominee with questions about her views on controversial issues that could come before the court, such as abortion, guns and the Affordable Care Act.

Barrett back on Capitol Hill for senators' final questions

  Barrett back on Capitol Hill for senators' final questions WASHINGTON (AP) — Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett returns to Capitol Hill for a third day of confirmation hearings as senators dig deeper into the conservative judge's outlook on abortion, health care and a potentially disputed presidential election — the Democrats running out of time to stop Republicans pushing her quick confirmation. require(["medianetNativeAdOnArticle"], function (medianetNativeAdOnArticle) { medianetNativeAdOnArticle.getMedianetNativeAds(true); }); Wednesday's session is set to be Barrett's last before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

While sidestepping questions on contentious issues –  Democrats say Barrett refused to answer over 100 questions – Barrett vowed to keep an open mind on any matter that comes before the court. The panel also heard personal and emotional testimony from some of Barrett's former colleagues and advocates who could be impacted by Barrett's confirmation to the high court.

a woman sitting at a table using a laptop: Judge Amy Coney Barrett sits before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill on Oct. 14, 2020 for the third day of confirmation hearings for a seat on the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. © Hannah Gaber, Hannah Gaber-USA TODAY Judge Amy Coney Barrett sits before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill on Oct. 14, 2020 for the third day of confirmation hearings for a seat on the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C.

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But Barrett’s nomination process isn’t finished. Here’s what to expect and when she could officially be sworn in as the ninth justice on the Supreme Court.

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Committee vote Oct. 22

The Senate Judiciary Committee – the same 22-senator panel that spent the week questioning Barrett – will vote on Oct. 22 at 1 p.m. EDT on Barrett’s nomination. The vote is scheduled to come after the committee holds Barrett’s nomination for one week, a typical practice by the panel.

Republicans hold advantages in the full Senate and the Senate Judiciary Committee, meaning Barrett’s nomination is expected to pass the panel and move to the full Senate for approval.

Democrats could try a variety of procedural maneuvers to slow the process on the day of the vote, but have largely conceded they don't have the numbers to stop her confirmation, given the GOP majority. Several Democratic senators on Thursday called for permanently halting her nomination, an action defeated in a party-line 12-10 vote.

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Democrats have threatened to withhold a quorum to block the vote, basically meaning they would boycott the vote, though if all 12 Republican members of the committee show up, they can move forward on the vote.

If all the Democrats do attend the vote, it is likely to pass on a party-line 12-10 vote.

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  Merriam-Webster dictionary updates 'sexual preference' entry after Amy Coney Barrett hearing Merriam-Webster added the word "offensive" to its usage guidance of "preference" and "sexual preference" when referring to sexual orientation.During the hearing Tuesday, Barrett was asked whether she agrees with the late Justice Antonin Scalia’s criticism of the same-sex marriage ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges – the landmark case which legalized gay marriage in the United States and which advocates worry Barrett would not support if confirmed to the nation's highest court.

Democrats have been tight-lipped about their strategy for next week. Asked about their plans for the committee vote, Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., declined to comment Thursday, saying “a week in this nomination process is like, you know, a month.”

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Full Senate vote the week before Election Day

The date of the final vote in the Senate is still unclear but is likely to happen the week of Oct. 26 – just days before the Nov. 3 election.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who controls the Senate’s schedule, said Thursday “we have the votes” to confirm Barrett and told reporters in Kentucky that the chamber would begin to consider her nomination on Oct. 23, a day after the Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to clear her nomination.

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McConnell's pledge means the earliest the full Senate could vote to confirm her would be Oct. 26, eight days before Election Day, if the chamber stays in session over the weekend. But the Kentucky Republican could instead bring it to a full vote later that week. Both routes would allow Barrett’s confirmation before Election Day.

"We'll go to the floor with her on Friday, the 23rd and stay on it until we finish this," McConnell said, adding "We have the votes."

A simple majority of the 100-member chamber will have to vote in favor of her nomination for Barrett to be sworn in as the Supreme Court’s ninth justice. Republicans outnumber Democrats 53 - 47 in the Senate.

Democrats have acknowledged they lack the votes to block Barrett’s nomination after a number of swing-state Republicans said they would support her appointment to the court.

Since Ruth Bader Ginsburg died in September, both sides have fought over how to go about replacing her on the court. Republicans have sought to confirm a new justice by Election Day in an effort to add one more conservative justice to the court before a contentious election. Democrats, hoping Joe Biden defeats Trump and they regain control of the Senate, have said the outcome of the election should determine who gets to choose a new Supreme Court justice.

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The swearing-in

Should the Senate vote to confirm Barrett, she will be sworn in as the Supreme Court’s ninth justice, giving conservatives on the court a 6 - 3 advantage.

Barrett is required to take two oaths before she can officially serve on the high court and she could take these in a variety of ways. Typically, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts will swear in a new associate justice and a ceremonial service is held at the White House.

The last addition on the Supreme Court – Brett Kavanaugh – was sworn in by Roberts just hours after the Senate confirmed his nomination. Since the high court was in the middle of its term, the quick process allowed Kavanaugh to begin work immediately.

The same could happen with Barrett as the court has a busy schedule in the days ahead.

The court will be in session starting Nov. 2 and will hear a case concerning the LGBTQ community and religious freedoms, along with a highly anticipated case that could decide the future of the Affordable Care Act. The Obama-era health care law was the main focus of Democrats' questioning during confirmation hearings. Democrats fear her appointment could upend the law, and with it, the health care of millions.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Amy Coney Barrett hearings conclude: Here's what happens next in Supreme Court confirmation

Senate committee OKs Amy Coney Barrett. Here's what happens next in her Supreme Court confirmation .
The Senate Judiciary Committee approved Amy Coney Barrett's nomination to the Supreme Court. Here's what happens next.The Senate Judiciary Committee's 12 Republican members approved her nomination in a 12-0 vote, setting up a final vote Monday before the full Senate.

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