Confirmation hearings for US Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett are set to begin as a divided Senate charges ahead on President Donald Trump’s pick to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and cement a conservative court majority before Election Day.
Barrett, a federal appeals court judge, will tell the Senate Judiciary Committee that she she is “forever grateful” for Ginsburg’s trailblazing path as a woman. But she is resolved to maintain the perspective of her own mentor, the late conservative Justice Antonin Scalia and “apply the law as written,” according to her prepared opening remarks for the hearings, which start Monday as the country is in the grips of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Courts are not designed to solve every problem or right every wrong in our public life,” Barrett says in the remarks, which The Associated Press obtained.
Republicans, who control the Senate, are moving at a breakneck pace to seat Barrett before the November 3 election to secure Trump’s pick and hear a high-profile challenge to the Affordable Care Act and any election-related challenges.
Democrats are trying in vain to delay the fast-track confirmation by raising fresh concerns about the safety of meeting during the pandemic after two GOP senators on the panel tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
Senator Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Senator Thom Tillis, R-NC, have not said if they will attend in person. Lee’s spokesman said the senator is symptom-free but would be making a decision on whether to attend on Monday morning per his doctor’s orders. A spokesman for Tillis did not respond to multiple requests for comment. Both tested positive 10 days ago.