Republicans hold a 53-47 advantage in the Senate and are aiming to hold a vote before the Nov. 3 election, in accordance with Trump’s wishes.
Trump, who is running for a second term against Democrat Joe Biden, has said he wants nine justices on the court so that it will have a full complement to tackle any election-related legal issues and possibly decide the outcome in his favor.
The only time in U.S. history the Supreme Court has had to resolve a presidential election was in 2000.
HEARING SET TO START OCT. 12
Barrett’s meetings with senators are taking place ahead of a multiday confirmation hearing scheduled to begin on Oct. 12, when she will face questions about her judicial philosophy and approach to the law.
Graham told Fox News on Sunday that the panel would likely vote on the nomination on Oct. 22, setting up a final vote on the Senate floor by the end of the month. Democrats object to Republicans pushing through the nomination so close to the election, saying that the winner of the contest should get to pick the nominee.
Trump’s nomination of Barrett is the first time since 1956 that a U.S. president has moved to fill a Supreme Court vacancy so close to an election.
Democratic opposition to Barrett has so far been focused on her possible role as a deciding vote in a case before the Supreme Court in which Trump and fellow Republicans are asking the justices to strike down the Obamacare health law known formally as the Affordable Care Act. If confirmed quickly, Barrett could be on the bench when the justices hear oral arguments on Nov. 10.
A key provision of the law that would be thrown out if the court struck it down requires insurance companies to provide coverage to people with pre-existing conditions.
Some Democrats have said they will refuse to meet with Barrett, but others, including some on the committee, have said they intend to engage in the process so they can ask Barrett directly about issues such as healthcare and abortion. Senator Chris Coons, a Democrat, will talk to her by phone or in a Zoom meeting, a spokesman said. (Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Peter Cooney)