Marianne LeVine, Anita Kumar, Gabby Orr and Burgess Everett
One source, a senior Republican official, said the president indicated earlier this week he’d decided on Barrett.
Another source said that Trump has still indicated some “flexibility” even though Barrett is the favorite, suggesting it was possible the president might change his mind.
The Senate Judiciary Committee is looking to hold confirmation hearings the week of October 12. Senate Republicans are aiming to confirm Barrett before the election. Both Trump and some Republican senators have suggested that there needs to be nine justices on the bench ahead of the election, in case the Supreme Court is required to step in to decide the result.
The Senate confirmed Barrett to her current judgeship in a 55-43 vote in 2017, and she is expected to receive broad support from Senate Republicans. But she’s not likely to receive any support from Senate Democrats, who argue that the upper chamber has never confirmed a Supreme Court Justice so close to the election.
Democrats are still seething over Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s decision in 2016 to block President Barack Obama’s nominee Merrick Garland from getting a hearing in the Senate, arguing at the time that the American people should decide given that it was an election year. But McConnell and Senate Republicans say that Trump’s nominee is different because unlike in 2016, the White House and the Senate are now controlled by the same party.
There is little Senate Democrats can do to stop the nomination from going forward. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) this week invoked the two-hour rule to prevent committees from meeting more than two hours after the Senate is in session, in a sign of protest.
The White House has already started to reach out to senators to set up meetings with the nominee, ahead of the announcement Saturday.