Senate Republicans are setting the dates for their lighting-round confirmation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett, but there are signs that winning that vote may not be the end of the debate. Although they're outnumbered and can do little to stop President Trump's Supreme Court choice, Democrats deciding on their next move have reason to feel they're not alone. The issues at play:
- The schedule: Sen. Lindsey Graham, who chairs the Judiciary Committee, wants the hearing to begin Oct. 12. His goal for the committee to approve Barrett's nomination and send it to the full Senate is Oct. 26, Axios reports. His warning for Democrats, delivered on Fox News: "If they continue this pattern of trying to demean this nominee, I think the American people will push back and push back hard."
- Democrats' strategy: Despite being in a hopeless situation, the party's senators are still feeling pressure, per the Washington Post. "We believe Democrats need to demonstrate that this is an illegitimate process, and all options to do so should be on the table," the group Demand Justice said. The options include essentially boycotting the confirmation process in a what-goes-around reminder of Merrick Garland's court nomination by then-President Obama in 2016. Senators are starting to say they won't hold the customary pre-hearing meetings with Barrett. Republicans did that with Garland.
- The justice of it all: A USA Today editorial questions whether such a quick confirmation process is wise or fair, and finds there isn't enough time for due diligence on a nominee whose votes could well decide cases that will have major effects on Americans' lives. Given the GOP senators' treatment of Garland, the editorial decides no, it's not fair. And fairness is a quality that should spring to mind when Americans think of the court and the process to staff it. This is no way to keep the nation's faith in its supreme institutions.
- The legacy: Although much of what Trump has done could someday be undone, the three justices he'll have put on the Supreme Court aren't going anywhere. His appointees ensure the court will have a conservative majority for years, per Politico. No president since Nixon has had as many. "This is my third such nomination," Trump said, "and it is a very proud moment indeed." Historian Douglas Brinkley said: "These are appointments that will change the future of America for decades to come. It's going to be indisputable."
- The rub: A new poll suggests Trump and GOP senators could pay a price for their success. A solid majority of voters say the court opening should be filled by the candidate who wins the presidential election, per the New York Times. And segments the party needs to win over by Nov. 3 are especially opposed to a quick confirmation of Barrett, including 62% of women, 63% of independents, and 60% of college-educated white voters.
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