By MARK SHERMAN, LISA MASCARO and MARY CLARE JALONICK Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) — Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Court confirmation hearing began Monday as the Republican-led Senate charged ahead to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg with President Donald Trump’s pick and cement the conservative court majority before Election Day.
Barring a dramatic development, Republicans appear to have the votes to confirm the 48-year-old conservative appellate judge to a lifetime seat on the Supreme Court.
The Senate Judiciary Committee, meeting on a federal holiday, kicked off four days of statements and testimony in an environment that has been altered by the coronavirus pandemic. Some senators are taking part remotely and the hearing room itself has been arranged with public health concerns in mind.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., opened the hearing acknowledging “the COVID problem in America is real. But he said, “We do have a country that needs to move forward safely.” Barrett was wearing a face mask, as were all the roughly 100 people in the cavernous hearing room.
Barrett, a federal appeals court judge, will tell senators that she is “forever grateful” for Ginsburg’s…