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What to watch in the Amy Coney Barrett hearings

October 11, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

Amy Coney Barrett's fast-track Supreme Court confirmation goes before the Senate Judiciary Committee Monday as the raucous fight over Barrett's nomination spills into public view for a week's worth of hearings.

(CNN)Amy Coney Barrett's fast-track Supreme Court confirmation goes before the Senate Judiciary Committee Monday as the raucous fight over Barrett's nomination spills into public view for a week's worth of hearings.

The hearings represent Democrats' best chance to poke holes in Barrett's record and try to cast doubt on President Donald Trump's nominee in the minds of Republicans -- or if that's not possible, at least score political points on health care three weeks before the election.

For Republicans, a smooth hearing will put Barrett on the glide path to be confirmed before Election Day over the fierce objections of Democrats, who charge the GOP is using a double standard after refusing to consider President Barack Obama's nominee in 2016.

Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, say they are opposed to confirming a Supreme Court nominee so close to an election, every other Republican appears to be lining up to support Barrett.

Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham did not alter the hearing schedule, which begins this week and could have Barrett confirmed by the end of the month, although senators may attend Barrett's confirmation hearings virtually.

Even if Democrats are fighting a losing battle to stop Barrett's confirmation, the public attention on the Supreme Court hearings gives them an opportunity to push a health care message that helped them win the House in 2018 -- and they hope will help take back the Senate and White House next month.

The Supreme Court will hear a challenge to the Affordable Care Act a week after the election in a case brought by Republican state attorneys general and the Trump administration, meaning Barrett could hear the case.

While Democrats are going to press Barrett on both health care and abortion from as many angles as they can think of, she's unlikely to say much about how she would rule on such cases, just as nominees before her have avoided doing.

That statement has been resurfaced by Republicans and Democrats alike ahead of the confirmation hearings, and Republicans have been quick to attack Democrats for going after Barrett's Catholic faith.

Republicans have been hitting Democrats over criticism of Barrett's religion in the leadup to the hearings, including Vice President Mike Pence criticizing Sen. Kamala Harris, a Judiciary Committee member, at last week's vice presidential debate.

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