The US Senate will begin hearings on President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Judge Amy Coney Barrett, in what is expected to be a bitter partisan fight before the November presidential election.
While the process from nomination to Senate confirmation can often take more than two months, the Republican-controlled Senate is seeking to expedite it at Mr Trump’s behest so it finishes before the November 3 poll.
Judge Barrett would replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg, an icon of the court’s liberal wing, who died last month after a battle with cancer.
She would give the court a 6-3 conservative majority if confirmed, though the court does not always vote along ideological lines.
Judge Barrett, along with the 22 senators on the committee, will provide opening statements on Monday.
In her remarks, obtained in advance by US media outlets, she is to say that “value judgments” or policy decisions should not be determined by the courts, but by Congress, alluding to her conservative legal philosophy, which seeks to restrain the courts.
“Courts have a vital responsibility to enforce the rule of law, which is critical to a free society,” her prepared remarks state.
“But courts are not designed to solve every problem or right every wrong in our public life.”
The hearings will take place in the Senate judiciary committee, which is led by Senator Lindsey Graham, a staunch Trump ally.
Democrats on the committee, including vice-presidential candidate Kamala Harris, are expected to wage a pitched battle against Judge Barrett’s confirmation, although they lack the votes to stop her nomination proceeding.
Despite the coronavirus infecting two Republican senators on the committee, Senator Graham has insisted on holding the hearings, saying members can participate virtually if they have health concerns.