“She is a slam dunk” based on her qualifications, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., the committee chairman, told reporters late in the day. Barrett received the highest, “well-qualified” rating from the American Bar Association, though she is the first nominee since Clarence Thomas who did not receive a unanimous assessment.
Underscoring the Republicans’ confidence, Graham set an initial committee vote on the nomination for Thursday, the last day of hearings, which would allow final approval by the panel for one week later and a vote for confirmation by the full Senate on Oct. 26.
One after another, Democrats sought Monday to tie her nomination to the upcoming Obama-era health care case.
“Health care coverage for millions of Americans is at stake with this nomination,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, the committee’s senior Democrat.
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., said the nomination is a “judicial torpedo aimed” at the law’s protection for people with preexisting health conditions. The Trump administration wants the court to strike down the entire law widely known as “Obamacare.” Barrett has criticized the court’s two earlier major rulings supporting the law.
Among Republicans, Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, dismissed warnings Barrett will undo the law as “outrageous.”