Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham said Monday that “there is nothing unconstitutional” about Republicans’ efforts to confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, as he sought to counter arguments from Democrats.
In his opening statement on the first day of Barrett’s confirmation hearings, Graham, R-S.C., began by quoting late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
“The bottom line is, Justice Ginsburg, when asked about this several years ago, said a president serves for four years, not three,” Graham said. “There is nothing unconstitutional about this process.”
“This is a vacancy that has occurred through a tragic loss of a great woman, and we’re gonna fill that vacancy with another great woman,” Graham continued. “The bottom line here is that the Senate is doing its duty.”
Senate Democrats are likely to seek to impede the confirmation as much as possible. They have objected to a confirmation so close to the election, citing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s refusal to consider President Barack Obama’s nominee Merrick Garland in 2016.
Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., said on Sunday that the Senate moving to confirm President Trump's Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett "constitutes court-packing," and called the nominee's views "disqualifying."
McConnell, R-Ky., has said that the present situation is different because the White House and the Senate are not held by opposing parties.
Republicans, though, appear to have the votes to move forward and confirm Barrett. Republicans have 53 votes in the Senate and can therefore afford three defections if no Democrat votes for the nominee. In that instance, Vice President Mike Pence would be called in to break a tie.
So far, only Sens. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Susan Collins, R-Maine, have indicated they oppose moving forward with a confirmation before the election. Murkowski has since suggested she still may vote for the nominee.
Fox News' Tyler Olson contributed to this report.