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Senate panel advances Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett

Amy Coney Barrett

Days before a historic vote in the U.S. Senate, a narrow majority of Americans say they support the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett as the next associate justice of the U.S. supreme court, according to polling released this week by Gallup.

The committee reconvened at 9 a.m. ET on Thursday - four hours earlier than was previously scheduled - and held a vote that sent Barrett's confirmation to the Senate floor.

In 2016, the a year ago of Barack Obama's presidency, Republicans in the Senate had blocked his nominee, US Appeals Judge Merrick Garland, from filling the seat of the late Justice Antonin Scalia, a conservative.

Activists opposed to the confirmation of Barrett, dressed as characters from The Handmaid's Tale, protest at the Supreme Court as the Republicans advanced Barrett's nomination through committee [Jose Luis Magana/AP Photo] Democrats are in the minority in the US Senate, which is controlled by Republicans by a 53-47 majority.

US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Thursday, during an interview Fox News's "The Daily Briefing with Dana Perino", that a court reform plan proposed by Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden indicates that "he is open" to court-packing.

Nine New Jersey residents joined the state's two U.S. senators Thursday in a last-minute plea to delay the confirmation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court. Lindsey Graham and commended the hearings he led over Barrett's nomination, undermining a Democratic contention that the appointment had to wait until the next president's inauguration.

Trump has said he wants a judge seated in time to hear any potential disputes arising from the November 3 election, and Barrett declined to say if she would recuse herself from such cases.

How does Barrett - a 48-year-old appeals court judge and law professor - compare to Trump's previous supreme court nominees (from a public opinion standpoint, anyway)?

Trump's Republican allies in the Senate are counting on her to improve their standing with voters. Republicans are expected to have the votes needed to approve her.

The protesters drowned out Democratic senators who had called a news conference to decry what they called a "sham" confirmation process.

Republicans have said that because they control the White House and the Senate, they have an obligation to those that voted for them to fill the seat immediately.

"And it's not about court packing". Barrett told the committee last week that she believed the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling legalising abortion nationwide was not a "super-precedent" that could never potentially be overturned.

The suggestion sparked criticism from progressives who said Biden should take a stronger stance on the so-called "court packing" issue, given the highly controversial circumstances of the Neil Gorsuch and Barrett nominations, in particular. "And I will ask them to, over 180 days, come back to me with recommendations as to how to reform the court system".

Both Feinstein's and Schumer's offices declined to comment for this story, saying they wouldn't discuss personal conversations between the senators.

"Cory Gardner and Donald Trump are trying to take away your health care", the former governor wrote in a Tweet Thursday, following the Senate Judiciary Committee's vote.

"Judge Barrett refused to stand up for even the most basic tenets of our democracy", Leahy said.

Mogulescu also detailed various ways that a victorious Biden and Democratic lawmakers could "begin to unpack the courts", from increasing the number of Supreme Court justices to introducing term limits for those appointed to the nation's highest court, noting Khanna's bill.