While President Donald Trump officially announced his nominee for the Supreme Court on Saturday afternoon, an expeditious timeline had already started to take shape that could kick off confirmation hearings as early as mid-October.
Senate hearings, which for the last three Supreme Court justices began nearly two months after they were nominated, could start as soon as Oct. 12, a Republican aide familiar with the matter told NBC News before Judge Amy Coney Barrett was officially announced as the nominee.
Hours after Trump nominated Barrett to replace the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the aggressive timeline was made official by Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham, who said on Fox News that confirmation hearings will start on Oct. 12, less than one month before the Nov. 3 election.
Graham said hearings will start with an introduction to Barrett, opening statements, and a statement by the nominee. Tuesday and Wednesday of that week will be dedicated to questions and answers and then the markup process would start on Thursday.
Per committee rules, the nomination can be held by Democrats for one week because it is the first time the nomination is on the agenda, said Graham, who hopes to have the nominee out of committee by Oct. 26 and then it’s up to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky, to set the floor schedule.
“If they treat her as bad as they treated [Justice Brett Kavanaugh], it’s going to blow up in their face,” Graham said of Democrats on Fox News. “If they continue this pattern of trying to demean this nominee, I think the American people will push back and push back hard.”
Both Barrett and Trump acknowledged that her confirmation hearings could get ugly as Democrats attempt to block a vote until after the election.
One Judiciary Committee member, Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., said he would not meet with Barrett, which is customary for committee members, in protest of Trump’s decision to rush ahead with the nomination with the election only 38 days away.
“I refuse to treat this process as legitimate and will not meet with Judge Barrett,” Blumenthal said in a statement.
Barrett said on Saturday that she has “no illusions that the road ahead of me will be easy, either for the short term or the long haul.”
According to an NBC News analysis of U.S. Senate records, the number of days between a Supreme Court nomination and confirmation has ballooned from an average of two weeks in the first half of the 1900s to more than two months since 2000.
The average is now 69 days from nomination to confirmation, up from an average of 52 days between 1950 and 2000 and an average of 14 days from 1900 to 1950.
Kavanaugh, Trump’s last nominee, was anything but a shoe-in despite a party-line vote. His confirmation took nearly 90 days after sexual misconduct allegations surfaced and dominated much of the hearings.
Trump’s first pick after taking office in 2017 was Justice Neil Gorsuch, who was nominated in January of that year and wasn’t confirmed until April.
In May 2010, former President Barack Obama nominated Justice Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court. She was confirmed in August of that year.