Lindsey Graham defends Amy Coney Barrett hearing, says public deserves chance to see judge's answers

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Sen. Lindsey Graham said Monday that some Republicans wanted him to skip the confirmation hearing for Judge Amy Coney Barrett and just push her nomination through with a vote — but he said Americans deserve a chance to see the judge in action.

Mr. Graham, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said the vote is not in doubt “unless something dramatic happens.” Republicans will vote for Judge Barrett’s confirmation, and Democrats will vote against it, he said.

But he said that determined outcome doesn’t mean the hearings aren’t important.

“This is a lifetime appointment. I would like the world and the country to know more about Judge Barrett,” Mr. Graham said. “I’m proud of you. I’m proud of what you’ve accomplished, and I think you’re a great choice by the president.”

Mr. Graham said Democrats deserve a chance to ask hard questions about the law and her philosophy. And it gives the public a chance to compare her to President Barack Obama’s two high court picks, Justices Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor.

Both of them were confirmed without needing to survive a filibuster.

Democrats, delivering opening statements during the first day of hearings on Monday, decried the speed Republicans are using to push the judge through.

And they are highlighting what they expect to be her vote on an upcoming challenge to the legality of Obamacare, warning Americans that Judge Barrett could end the 2010 health law and plunge millions of people back into life without a federal health insurance guarantee.

Republicans counter that the timing is not about the Obamacare case, which will be heard in early November.

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