Nicholas Wu and Christal Hayes, NewsyBag
Published 11:24 a.m. ET Sept. 29, 2020 | Updated 1:08 p.m. ET Sept. 29, 2020
President Donald Trump has selected federal appeals court Judge Amy Coney Barrett to be his third nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court.
WASHINGTON — Federal appeals court Judge Amy Coney Barrett traveled to Capitol Hill today to start meeting with senators ahead of her Supreme Court confirmation hearings.
Barrett’s scheduled meetings on Tuesday are all with Republicans. She started her day meeting with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Vice President Mike Pence. In the afternoon, she will meet with other key Republican senators on the Judiciary Committee, the panel overseeing nominations, including Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa; Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas; Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah; and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who chairs the panel.
Instead of meeting in each senator’s office, lawmakers are meeting individually with Barrett in a larger room in the Capitol to account for COVID-19 precautions.
After his meeting with her, McConnell, joined by Barrett and officials from the White House, offered brief remarks about starting the process
“We’re pleased today to welcome Judge Barrett,” McConnell said, noting she would be meeting with senators who “are interested in talking with her” over the next several days before her confirmation process starts in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
“We’re glad to have her here and glad to get the process started,” he added.
Standing nearby, Vice President Mike Pence, joined by White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and White House counsel Pat Cipollone, praised Barrett and the members of the Senate who “committed to meet with an extraordinary American.”
“We truly do believe that Judge Barrett represents the best of America,” Pence said, urging Democrats to also meet with her and to offer the “kind of respectful hearings that the American people expect.”
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McConnell did not respond to shouted questions about whether Barrett should recuse herself should matters about the November election come before the court or whether a final vote on her nomination would definitively come before the election.
“It’s the start of a very long process, but went well,” Meadows told reporters following the meeting between Barrett and McConnell, though he declined to discuss specifics.
Barrett does not have any meetings currently scheduled with Democrats, and several Democratic senators said they would not meet with her. Asked Monday if she would meet with Barrett, the Democratic Party’s vice presidential nominee, Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., told reporters: “I’m sure that’s going to happen, we’ll see how it works out … I haven’t made a plan one way or another.”
Harris said she would take part in the hearings as a Judiciary Committee member.
Hearings are set to begin on Oct. 12 and last for four days, and Graham has said he wants to send Barrett’s nomination to the full Senate by Oct. 26, meaning her final confirmation could come days before Election Day on Nov. 3.
More: The Senate could confirm Amy Coney Barrett to Supreme Court just days before Election Day, with hearings beginning Oct. 12
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