Democrats, led by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), formally requested a delay in the Senate confirmation process for Judge Amy Coney Barrett until after the presidential inauguration.
On Thursday, Feinstein, ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, formally requested to delay the process, citing a lack of sufficient time to vet Trump’s Supreme Court nominee.
“The timeline for consideration of Judge Barrett’s nomination is incompatible with the Senate’s constitutional role,” Feinstein wrote. “We again urge you to delay consideration of this nomination until after the presidential inauguration. ”
“The Senate and the American public deserve a deliberative, thorough process, and this falls far short,” she continued, contending that the timeline is a “sharp departure from past practice.”
The 87-year-old senator added that the timeline “undercuts the Senate’s ability to fulfill its advice and consent role and deprives the American people of a meaningful opportunity to gauge the nominee and her record for themselves.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, expects the confirmation hearings to begin October 12. He believes Barrett could be out of committee by the end of the month.
“October 12 — that would be 16 days for the nomination and 24 of the 42 Supreme Court justices who have had hearings were done within 16 days,” Graham said during a September appearance on Fox News’s Justice.
“Kennedy — 14, Stevens — 10, Powell — 12, Rehnquist — 12, Blackmon — 14, Chief Justice Burger — 11. So 16 days from now, we will start the hearings on October 12,” he continued.
“Monday will be introduction, opening statements, a statement by the nominee; Tuesday and Wednesday will be question days; and Thursday, we will begin the mark-up process,” Graham added.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) also addressed the Democrat “myth” that there is not enough time to properly vet and confirm Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court prior to the presidential election.
“We’re already hearing incorrect claims that there is not sufficient time to examine and confirm a nominee. We can debunk this myth in about 30 seconds,” the Kentucky senator said on the Senate floor last month.
“As of today, there are 43 days until November 3 and 104 days until the end of this Congress. The late, iconic Justice John Paul Stevens was confirmed by the Senate 19 days after this body formally received his nomination — 19 days from start to finish,” he said.
Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, another iconic jurist, was confirmed 33 days after her nomination. For the late-Justice Ginsburg herself, it was just 42 days. Justice Stevens’ entire confirmation process could have been played out twice, twice, between now and November 3 with time to spare. And Justice Ginsburg herself could have been confirmed twice between now and the end of the year with time to spare.
“The Senate has more than sufficient time to process a nomination,” he added. “History and precedent make that perfectly clear”:
Several GOP lawmakers have praised Trump’s nomination of Barrett and signaled support for voting on the nominee prior to the election.
Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) is among those lawmakers, stating that he intends to “follow the Constitution and precedent in considering the president’s nominee.”
“If the nominee reaches the Senate floor, I intend to vote based upon their qualifications,” he added.