Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Court confirmation hearing begins today, but how long will it be until she is officially confirmed? When could the vote take place and when will she be sworn in if she gets enough votes? Here’s a look at the timeline.
Four Days of Hearings Are Scheduled for Barrett
Four days of hearings are scheduled for Barrett, starting with today.
The hearing is scheduled to run Monday through Thursday, starting at 9 a.m. Eastern each day, according to the Senate Judiciary Committee’s schedule. Today’s hearing will start with opening statements from Sen. Lindsey Graham, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, and each of the other 20 senators, Fox News reported. Each senator will be able to speak for 10 minutes each during their opening statements.
Graham, Senate Judiciary Chairman, is presiding over the hearing.
Following the opening statements today, Senator Todd Young and Senator Michael Braun will speak for about five minutes each about Barrett’s qualifications. Next, former Notre Dame Law School professor Patricia O’Hara will also speak. Barrett will then speak with her own opening remarks.
The main questions will begin on Tuesday and continue on Wednesday, October 14 and Thursday, October 15, ABC 8 reported. Each Senator will have 30 minutes to ask questions on Tuesday, followed by 20 minutes to ask questions on October 14. Then if needed, they’ll have 10 minutes each after that, Fox News reported.
The last day, Thursday, will consist of testimony from outside witnesses, MarketWatch reported.
Graham Hopes a Vote Will Happen the Last Week of October
So no, Barrett isn’t going to be confirmed this week and the votes on her nomination won’t happen this week either, according to the schedule.
Graham has said that he hopes Barrett’s nomination will be approved by the last week of October, with a Senate vote taking place on the floor that last week before the election, ABC 8 reported.
The entire hearing process typically lasts approximately three to four days, and then the confirmation vote follows.
Barrett’s Nomination Will Likely Follow Gorsuch’s Timeline Rather than Kavanaugh’s
Barrett’s nomination timeline will likely follow Neil Gorsuch’s, which was fairly quick, as opposed to Brett Kavanaugh’s. During Kavanaugh’s hearing, an extra day of hearings and questions was added to allow for Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony about sexual harassment allegations. So Kavanaugh’s original hearings were September 4-7, 2018, followed by a second round on September 27, 2018, to allow Ford to testify. After Ford’s testimony and related questions, Kavanaugh was confirmed on October 6, 2018, following a separate supplemental FBI investigation and then voted into office on the same day.
Gorsuch’s confirmation hearing in 2017 lasted four days. He was nominated on January 31, 2017. Confirmation hearings were held March 20-23, 2017, with the final day reserved for outside witness statements. Sen. Chuck Grassley put Gorsuch’s vote on the agenda for March 27, but Democrats exercised a one-week delay. He was ultimately confirmed on April 7, 2017.
Typically after a confirmation hearing, the Senate Judiciary Committee then decides if the full Senate will vote on the nomination. After this, the Senate debates and votes. After the nominee is confirmed, the Secretary of the Senate sends the document, called a commission, to the President, which the President signs. Next, the document is signed by the attorney general, and the Justice Department seal is put on it. The President signs it, and the nominee is officially appointed to the Supreme Court, and the attorney general puts the Justice Department seal on the commission. Finally, the Justice takes the Constitutional and Judicial Oaths, required by the Judiciary Act of 1789.
The last time a nominee was rejected was in 1987 when Robert Bork was rejected during a full vote of the Senate.
To give you an idea of how long the confirmation hearing process typically takes, here’s how long some of the more recent, longer Supreme Court confirmation hearings have lasted, over a period of days:
- John G. Roberts, Jr. in 2005: 20 hours
- Stephen G. Breyer in 1994: 20 hours
- Ruth Bader Ginsburg in 1993: 20 hours
- Clarence Thomas in 1991: 25 hours
- Neil Gorsuch in 2017: 20 hours
- Brett Kavanaugh in 2018: 48 hours
One of the longer hearings was for Robert Bork in 1987, lasting 30 hours, and he was ultimately not confirmed. Kavanaugh’s hearing later far surpassed this, but he was ultimately nominated.
Based on the typical length, you can expect about 20 to 24 hours for Barrett’s nomination. Graham has said that if things go smoothly, she will likely be confirmed the week before the election.