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GOP, Democrats spar over Judge Amy Coney Barrett on day before hearings

Judge Amy Coney Barrett at the White House

Judge Amy Coney Barrett at the White House last month  Credit: AP/Alex Brandon

The Senate Judiciary Committee aims to send Judge Amy Coney Barrett's Supreme Court nomination to the full Senate floor by Oct. 22, the panel's chairman said Sunday, while Democrats say they plan to focus this week's hearings on her criticisms of the Affordable Care Act.

President Donald Trump nominated Barrett, a conservative appeals court judge, to succeed Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court. Ginsburg died Sept. 18 after a 27-year tenure on the court's liberal wing. Senate judiciary hearings begin on Monday.

"We're going to get this fine lady confirmed, out of committee, by Oct. 22," Graham said Sunday on "Fox News Futures."

Barrett will provide an opening statement on Monday, and senators will be able to question the Indiana jurist on Tuesday and Wednesday. On Thursday, representatives of outside groups will be able to testify before the committee.

Graham said he believed the Republican-controlled Senate can "can easily get her confirmed before the election," on Nov. 3.

Also Sunday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) called on Barrett to recuse herself from any cases involving the Affordable Care Act and the 2020 election results, noting she has expressed opposition to upholding the ACA and that her confirmation is being "rushed through."

"This is a moment unlike any other. Because this nominee comes before us with serious conflicts of interest," Schumer said.

Schumer cited a 2017 article she wrote in the Notre Dame Law Review, which criticized Chief Justice’s John G. Roberts’ majority opinion to uphold the ACA. She argued that he "pushed the Affordable Care Act beyond its plausible meaning to save the statute."

"President Trump has said that he needs to put her on the high court to possibly help him win reelection in suits that would come before the court after Nov. 3," Schumer said at a news conference outside his Manhattan office.

"A vote for Judge Barrett is very simple: to vote to take health care away from 20 million Americans. It's a vote to strip protections from over 130 million Americans with preexisting conditions, and it's a vote to vastly curtail women's productive freedom," Schumer said.

Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), a judiciary committee member, said on CNN's "State of The Union" that "we are going to be very focused on her state of views on the Affordable Care Act. And the reason that the Republicans are so bound and determined to push her through, with only about two weeks left before the election and millions of people already voting, they want her on that court to hear the Affordable Care Act case on Nov. 10, one week after the election, so that she can strike it down."

Schumer said that Democrats do not plan to supply the quorum for a judiciary committee vote.

"The process is already a legitimate danger and unpopular," he said. "All the more reason she should be recused. She's being rushed through to decide decisions that she already seems to have made up her mind."

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