A slate of witnesses are scheduled to testify before a Senate panel Thursday on the fourth and final day of confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett.
The witness testimony follows three days of Barrett appearing before the Senate judiciary committee — the last two which saw members questioning the appellate court judge on topics including abortion, voting rights, the Affordable Care Act and legal matters involving President Donald Trump.
Thursday’s hearing will begin at 9 a.m. EDT.
Despite repeated attempts over nearly 20 hours of questioning to gauge her political leanings, Barrett would not show her hand by expressing personal views on controversial issues or by critiquing earlier court rulings, such as the landmark 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision that legalized abortion.
During questioning, Democrats zeroed in on healthcare and fears that Barrett may provide a decisive vote in striking down the ACA when a Republican-led legal challenge comes before the high court the week after the Nov. 3 election.
Republicans, meanwhile, criticized Democrats for “playing politics” with the hearing while praising Barrett’s character and qualifications for the lifetime appointment, Trump’s third since he took office in 2017.
Thursday, the hearings shift to the witness phase, with two witness panels scheduled to testify.
The first panel will include legal experts from the American Bar Association who will speak to Barrett’s qualifications and the second witnesses called by Democratic and Republican committee members to speak either for or against Barrett’s confirmation.
It was at this stage in 2018 that Christine Blasey Ford testified before the committee that nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her decades ago. Kavanaugh was eventually confirmed by the panel and, later, the full Senate by a vote of 50-48.
Among those invited to speak by ranking Democrat Sen. Diane Feinstein are Crystal Good, who fought in court for an abortion at age 16, and Stacy Staggs, the mother of 7-year old twins with pre-existing conditions who will testify about the importance of the Affordable Care Act.
Witnesses called by Republican committee Chair Sen. Lindsey Graham include retired judge Thomas Griffith, a former jurist who’s praised Barrett, and attorney Laura Wolk, one of Barrett’s former law students.
The 22-member Senate panel is expected approve Barrett’s confirmation along party lines in a vote expected to be held next week. If approved, Barrett’s nomination would move to the full Senate for final confirmation.
Democrats are hoping to compel four Republican senators to vote against her confirmation in the upper chamber, arguing that the man elected president on Nov. 3 should nominate the next Supreme Court justice, who will succeed Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
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