Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee that will vet Judge Barrett’s nomination and himself an incumbent facing a serious election challenge, planned to outline the confirmation process for the first time in a statement Saturday night after the president’s announcement.
Mr. Graham’s schedule will call for significantly less time than usual for lawmakers to meet with and vet Judge Barrett than recent nominees, cutting to about two weeks a stage of the process that has typically lasted six. Later parts of the process would also be compressed. White House officials had already started reaching out Thursday and Friday to begin scheduling courtesy visits to lawmakers who wanted them, even before there was a nominee.
Mr. Graham has circulated a schedule to Republican lawmakers that includes four consecutive days of confirmation hearings beginning Oct. 12, and a committee vote on Judge Barrett’s nomination on Oct. 22. Senate Republicans were aiming for a final confirmation vote in the final days of October, although Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, has kept his cards close to his vest rather than fully commit to a pre-election vote.
Republicans argue that the truncated timeline is appropriate given that Judge Barrett was vetted by the Senate as recently as 2017 for her current post. But if Republicans aim to have a new justice installed before the election, it leaves little room for error or unexpected delay.
Republicans expect to lose two of their more moderate members. Senator Susan Collins of Maine has said that she will not vote to confirm anyone before Election Day out of fairness. Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska took a similar position and then backtracked, but she is a vocal supporter of abortion rights and is expected to look skeptically upon the nominee’s views of Roe v. Wade. The defections, though, are unlikely to go any farther and Mr. McConnell has made clear to colleagues that he is pleased with Judge Barrett’s selection.
With little chance of stopping Judge Barrett’s confirmation, Senate Democrats hoped to stir public outrage over what they called an election-season power grab by Republicans that could have a lasting and damaging effect on the lives of Americans. For now, the fight appeared to have unified Senate Democrats in opposition to any nominee — no small feat given the handful of moderates in their ranks. And Democrats have made clear in recent days that they intend to hammer away at Judge Barrett’s views on abortion and the Affordable Care Act.
“You’ll find there will be a wall of opposition, pretty unyielding, based on the rush to confirm a justice before the inaugural, denying the American people any voice in choosing the next justice,” said Senator Richard Blumenthal, Democrat of Connecticut, who sits on the Judiciary Committee.