The second day of confirmation hearings for the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court is underway before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Barrett, 48, was nominated last month to fill the seat of the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Tuesday marks the first round of the question-and-answer phase, during which the 22 senators that make up the powerful committee will each have 30 minutes to question President Trump’s nominee to the bench on the topics of their choosing.
On Monday, Senate Judiciary Democrats, who make up 10 of the 22 committee lawmakers, made protecting the Affordable Care Act a primary focus of their opening statements.
Many Democrats were seated in front of blown-up pictures of people at risk of losing their insurance in an upcoming Supreme Court case.
The Supreme Court will hear a challenge to the ACA next month that is brought by the Trump administration’s Justice Department.
If confirmed, Democrats have argued, the Trump-appointed justice would vote in favor of the Trump administration’s challenge to the law.
In advance of the hearings, Democrats were vocal about their plans to focus on health care.
The shift has been a significant one from that of the chaotic hearings surrounding the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
During Kavanaugh’s 2018 hearings, Democrats took heat for their handling of the process from both sides, something they hoped to avoid this time around.
What hasn’t been mentioned as a result is Barrett’s Roman Catholic faith, which Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) was criticized for bringing up during Barrett’s 2017 confirmation hearings to be a federal judge.
During questioning, Feinstein said, “when you read your speeches, the conclusion one draws is that the dogma lives loudly within you and that’s a concern.”
On Monday, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) called for civility ahead of the start of the confirmation process.
“This is going to be a long, contentious week. I would just ask one thing of the committee. To the extent possible, let’s make it respectful, let’s make it challenging, let’s remember, the world is watching,” he requested of his fellow Judiciary lawmakers.
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