The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals judge was officially nominated by President Trump late last month, and Senate Republicans hurried to set a hearing date for the nominee and vowed to confirm her before the presidential election. They are aiming for a floor vote before October is out.
Out of the 53 Republican senators, only two -- Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska -- have said they want the Senate to wait until after the presidential election to move on a Supreme Court nominee. That means Republicans, barring any unexpected defections, almost certainly have the votes to move Barrett's nomination on their own terms.
Democrats have vowed to do everything they can do stop Barrett's confirmation. But unless they can convince any more Republican senators to oppose the Republican-nominated judge it is unlikely they have the votes to do anything more than protest loudly and potentially force Republicans into some uncomfortable protest votes.
Here is the likely timeline for Barrett's confirmation effort as hearings begin and a final floor vote nears.
Oct. 12-14: Hearings
Monday, Oct. 12 will mark the first day of Barrett's confirmation hearings, including opening statements from Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. The rest of the senators will then give 10-minute opening statements followed by 5-minute introductions for Barrett and then the judge's opening remarks.
This hearing, and all others, will be hybrid in-person and virtual, with senators having the option to join by teleconference. This will be especially important as Sens. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., and Mike Lee, R-Utah, tested positive for the coronavirus last week and are likely to still be under quarantine by the start of the confirmation hearings.
Tuesday, Oct. 13 is when senators will have their first real opportunity to grill Barrett on national television. Democrats will likely ask Barrett about past comments she's made that have been critical of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court ruling that bans states from making abortion illegal, and NFIB v. Sebelius, the Supreme Court ruling that initially upheld the Affordable Care Act (ACA) as constitutional. There is another Supreme Court case scheduled for oral arguments about the ACA's constitutionality just days after the presidential election, making the ACA a timely issue for this confirmation hearing that's coming right in the middle of a presidential election.
Republicans, meanwhile, are likely to spotlight Barrett's strong academic record and praise she's received for her time on the federal bench since she was first confirmed as a circuit judge in 2017. Expect a lot of questions about "originalism," the judicial philosophy to which late Justice Antonin Scalia, one of Barrett's mentors, subscribed.
Senators on Tuesday will have 30 minutes each to question Barrett. Then on Wednesday hearings will continue with 20-minute rounds of questioning. For any questioning after that point senators will each get 10 minutes.