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Next steps in battle for Supreme Court seat

The U.S. Supreme Court building before dawn in

The U.S. Supreme Court building before dawn in Washington on Oct. 5, 2018. Credit: AP / J. David Ake

Now that President Donald Trump has announced his Supreme Court nominee, Senate Republicans plan to cut the average time of recent confirmation processes in half to five weeks so they can vote on the nominee before the Nov. 3 election.

Here are the expected next steps:

Trump submits his nomination

Trump sends the nomination to the Senate Judiciary Committee. The nominee pays courtesy visits to senators.

The committee vets the nominee

The committee vets the nominee with a questionnaire and staff and FBI investigations. The American Bar Association rates the nominee’s qualifications.

Public hearings commence

During the week of Oct. 12, the committee aims to hold public hearings. Senators will question the nominee over three days about her qualifications, judgment, philosophy and any controversy. Experts and advocates testify about the nominee on the fourth and final day.

Time to debate and vote

The committee meets in the next week to publicly debate and vote on whether to recommend approval, which the committee’s Republican majority likely will do.

Off to the full Senate

The committee then sends the nomination to the full Senate.

The Senate debates

The Senate debates the nomination. Democrats will seek to delay the vote until after the election but under a rule change Republicans need only 51 votes instead of 60 votes to end a filibuster.

The Senate votes

The Senate votes on the nomination. A simple majority of those present can approve the nominee. The vice president would break a tie.

The appointment

The president signs a commission officially appointing the new justice. She then takes a judicial and a constitutional oath of office. The court swears her in again. Then she can take her seat on the bench as soon as three or so days after the Senate vote.

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