WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Senate Republicans kicked off confirmation hearings Monday to appoint 48-year-old Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.
If confirmed, she will be the youngest justice on the court.
On the first day of a historic confirmation battle, Republicans made their case to place Barrett on the Supreme Court by Election Day.
“This is going to be a long, contentious week,” said U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-SC.
Iowa Republican senators Joni Ernst and Chuck Grassley praised Barrett’s record.
“To sum up, judge Barrett’s qualifications and character are impeccable,” said Grassley.
“As a fellow mom as a fellow Midwesterner, I see you for who you are,” Ernst said.
But Democrats were unmoved.
U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-IL, says Republicans are wrong to rush her nomination.
“It is a shameless, self-serving, venal reversal,” said Durbin. “Unfair to the Senate and really unfair to the nominee.”
He warned Barrett’s expected rulings on the Affordable Care Act will strip health care from millions of Americans.
“It’s unimaginable in the midst of a pandemic the Republicans want to strike down that 23 million Americans rely on,” he said.
If confirmed, Barrett would give conservatives a 6 to 3 majority.
Republicans say Democrats are doing everything they can to stop that from happening.
U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley, R-MO, accused the media and Democrats of misrepresenting Barrett’s catholic beliefs to damage her image.
“One attack after each other,” Hawley said. “When you tell them they’re too catholic, that’s bigotry.”
Barrett said she would be honored to serve on the court.
“I chose to accept the nomination because I believe deeply in the rule of law,” she said.
She will undergo questioning from senators starting Tuesday.