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Amy Coney Barrett's Supreme Court confirmation hearings: Highlights from Day 1

The Senate Judiciary Committee hearings will last through Thursday.
Image: Judge Amy Coney Barrett will attend Supreme Court confirmation hearings before the Senate on Monday and Tuesday.
Judge Amy Coney Barrett will attend Supreme Court confirmation hearings before the Senate on Monday and Tuesday.Chelsea Stahl / NBC News

The Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday began its first day of confirmation hearings for Amy Coney Barrett, President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee.

The hearings will last through Thursday.

Barrett's confirmation would cement conservative control of the nation's highest court, giving them a 6-3 advantage. Democrats have acknowledged there's little they can do to prevent her ascent, which Republicans are rushing to push through before the election, but they still plan to grill Barrett on several key issues, including abortion and Obamacare, as well as information that she initially failed to disclose in her Senate questionnaire.

This live coverage has ended. Read continuing coverage of Barret's second day of confirmation hearings here.

Read the latest updates below:

Kennedy hands pad, pencils to Barrett's seven children

Barrett's seven children, who range in age from 9 to 19, have sat quietly behind their mom through the hearing, occasionally drawing compliments from senators about their willingness to sit quietly. 

Hours until the second day of testimony, Sen. Kennedy tried to send them a lifeline, distributing notepads and pencils for them to utilize, presumably a reprieve from listening to the senators' speeches. 

The seven children are seated behind Barrett and next to their father, Jesse. 

Barrett's former law students speak out

Barrett, lawmakers pay tribute to Ruth Bader Ginsburg in opening statements

Barrett in her opening statement paid tribute to Ruth Bader Ginsburg, whom Trump's nominee would replace if confirmed.

"When I was 21 years old, and just beginning my career, Ruth Bader Ginsburg sat in this seat. She told the committee what has become of me could only happen in America,” Barrett said. "I have been nominated to fill justice Ginsburg's seat, but no one will ever take her place. I will be forever grateful for the path she marked and the life she led."

Prior to Barrett's remarks, several of the 22 senators on the committee addressed Ginsburg's historic tenure as well as her judicial legacy.

Graham, opening the hearing, called Ginsburg an "active litigator, pushing for more equal justice and better rights for women throughout the country," celebrating the friendship the late justice shared with Scalia. 

Feinstein recalled Ginsburg's confirmation hearing, the first she experienced as a U.S. senator. Feinstein referred to the hearing as a "real thrill" for someone who broke barriers and "staunchly believed in a woman's right to full equality and autonomy."  

Klobuchar said that Ginsburg's legacy could not be erased: "To the women of America, we have come so far, and in the name of RBG, we should not go backwards."

Watch highlights from first day of Barrett's confirmation hearing

With eye on election, Democrats hammer health care on first day of Barrett hearing

Senate Democrats came to the first day of the Supreme Court hearings Monday with a singular message: Health care coverage and protections for millions of Americans are at risk if Barrett is confirmed.

Like a choir singing in unison, Democrats carried the same tune, in different vocal ranges. Each showed photos of constituents who have battled illness and stood to lose potential life-or-death treatment if the Affordable Care Act were axed, demonstrating an unusual level of harmony for a party not known for message discipline.

The relentless attacks were aimed at exploiting the GOP's Achilles heel in the election — a pandemic-weary public that continues to cite health care as a top issue and trusts Democrats more on the topic. Without the votes to stop Republicans from confirming Barrett, 48, to a lifetime appointment on the court, Democrats are seeking to maximize their revenge at the ballot box.

Read more here.

Day one of Supreme Court confirmation hearing ends with 'clear lines' across the aisle

Confirmation hearing adjourned until Tuesday

Graham adjourned Monday's nomination hearing. Tuesday's hearing is set to begin at 9 a.m. ET. 

Tuesday's hearing will begin the lengthy question process, when Barrett will face public interrogation. 

Barrett explains how her children factor into her judicial philosophy

Barrett said in her opening statement that a key framework of how she rules from the bench is how she would view a decision if one of her seven children was whom she was ruling against.

"When I write an opinion resolving a case, I read every word from the perspective of the losing party," she said. "I ask myself how would I view the decision if one of my children was the party I was ruling against: Even though I would not like the result, would I understand that the decision was fairly reasoned and grounded in the law? That is the standard I set for myself in every case, and it is the standard I will follow as long as I am a judge on any court."

Barrett also praised her mentor, Justice Antonin Scalia, one of the court's most conservative members in his time and for whom Barrett clerked, and described how she viewed the role of the courts.

"Courts have a vital responsibility to enforce the rule of law, which is critical to a free society," Barrett said. "But courts are not designed to solve every problem or right every wrong in our public life. The policy decisions and value judgments of government must be made by the political branches elected by and accountable to the people. The public should not expect courts to do so, and courts should not try."