The Slatest

Republicans Get Ready to Confirm Barrett to Supreme Court Before Election

Judge Amy Coney Barrett speaks after being nominated to the Supreme Court by President Donald Trump in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC on September 26, 2020.
Judge Amy Coney Barrett speaks after being nominated to the Supreme Court by President Donald Trump in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC on September 26, 2020. OLIVIER DOULIERY/Getty Images

Now that President Donald Trump has made his nomination official, Senate Republicans are not wasting time, getting ready for a fast confirmation process that could see Judge Amy Coney Barrett installed in the Supreme Court before Election Day. Republicans quickly worked to build momentum to the confirmation process, making it clear that they see it as a done deal. Trump told reporters after his announcement that he was optimistic the confirmation process was “going to go fast” and expressed optimism that “this will be done before the election.”

Shortly after Trump’s speech at the White House, the Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearings on Barrett will begin Oct. 12, meaning that the final vote on Barrett could take place on the Senate floor by around Oct. 29, mere days before the Nov. 3 election. “In 244 years, no justice has ever been confirmed so close to an election, and in this case, voters in some states are already casting ballots,” notes the New York Times.

There isn’t much Democrats can do to stop the confirmation, although they are planning to use every procedural tool in their arsenal to delay the process as much as possible and make life difficult for Republicans. That won’t ultimately change the outcome but Democrats are optimistic that they can end up winning the political battle by characterizing the rapid confirmation as hypocritical and an abuse of power. “Process is everything,” Sen. Bob Menendez said. “So if you’re going to use the process to try to steal an election, then we’re going to use the process to try to do everything for that not to happen.”

As they try to delay the confirmation as much as possible, Democrats are going to try to get voters on their side by rapidly coalescing around a message of what Barrett’s confirmation could mean for health care. “All the data show that with COVID raging, the number one priority for the American people is health care — its affordability, accessibility and quality,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a letter to Democratic colleagues. “We must focus like a laser on health care because Judge Barrett’s record is so clear on this issue.” Joe Biden has also quickly focused on the issue in his messaging to oppose Barrett’s confirmation.