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Senate to work through weekend for Barrett nomination

Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett testifies during the third day of her confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 14, Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times via AP

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Senate is on track to confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court by next Monday (Oct. 26), planning for a rare weekend session as Republicans look to install President Donald Trump’s pick before Election Day.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he will begin the process as soon as the Senate Judiciary Committee wraps up its work Thursday (Oct. 22). With a 53-47 Republican majority, and just two GOP senators opposed, Trump’s nominee appears to be on a smooth path to nomination.

McConnell said Monday that Barrett demonstrated over several days of public hearings the “sheer intellectual horsepower that the American people deserve to have on the Supreme Court.”

Without the votes to stop Barrett’s ascent, Democrats have few options left. They are searching for two more GOP senators to break ranks and halt confirmation, but that seems unlikely.

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer decried what he called the “farcical” process to “jam” through Trump’s choice.

The Senate Judiciary Committee is set to meet Thursday to vote on recommending Barrett’s nomination to the full Senate. By Friday, procedural votes are expected, continuing over the weekend as Republicans complete the steps for a final vote to confirm Barrett as soon as Monday.

The 48-year-old appellate court judge from Indiana delivered few specific answers during several days of public testimony as senators probed her views on abortion, the Affordable Care Act and other issues before the court. She declined to say whether she would recuse herself from cases involving the election between Trump and Democrat Joe Biden.

Barrett shares the judicial philosophy of originalism espoused by the late Associate Justice Antonin Scalia, for whom she clerked in 1998-99. During her opening statement Oct. 12, Barrett told the Senate Judiciary Committee she believes “Americans of all backgrounds deserve an independent Supreme Court that interprets our Constitution and laws as they are written. And I believe I can serve my country by playing that role.” She described Scalia’s philosophy as “straightforward: A judge must apply the law as written, not as the judge wishes it were.”

Trump has said he wants the judge seated in time to hear any potential disputes from the Nov. 3 election. He also has said he’s looking for a judge who would rule against the Obama-era health care law, which is headed to the court in a case justices are expected to hear Nov. 10.

If confirmed, Barrett would be the third Supreme Court justice appointed by Trump. She would fill the vacancy left by the death of liberal icon Ruth Bader Ginsberg.

From The Associated Press. May not be republished. Baptist Press contributed to this report.

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  • Lisa Mascaro