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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:

Booker criticizes Congress for lack of action on new coronavirus relief package

Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., highlighted the lack of congressional action to combat the coronavirus pandemic. 

"Instead of doing anything to help people who are struggling right now, we're here," Booker said. "We're here."

He highlighted discrepancies between the access to health care members of Congress have to the access Americans have through the Affordable Care Act.

"I'm so glad — I'm really glad — my colleagues who contracted Covid at the Rose Garden superspreader event for Judge Barrett have access to the care that you and your families needed," Booker said. "That's right. That's a blessing."

Booker's opening remarks unconvincing to an originalist

Ernst praises Barrett as a trailblazer for women

Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, praise Barrett as a trailblazing woman who is following in a long tradition of others like her.

"This is what a mom can do," Ernst said.

Locked in a tight re-election battle back home, Ernst said of Barrett that Democrats "cannot attack your qualifications."

Hirono criticizes Barrett's nomination ceremony as White House 'superspreader' event

In her opening statement, Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, lambasted Judge Amy Coney Barrett's nomination ceremony at the White House as a "superspreader" event, calling the White House a "Covid-19 hotspot driven by the president's denial of how serious this pandemic is."

Trump, the first lady, multiple Republican senators and others close to the president in attendance at that late-September event tested positive for the coronavirus in the days that followed.

Hirono said Congress should be taking up additional legislation to provide coronavirus relief rather than considering a Supreme Court vacancy this close to the election, a confirmation she deemed a "hypocritical, illegitimate process."

Like other Democrats, Hirono focused on the possibility that Barrett could be the deciding vote in overturning the Affordable Care Act.

She spoke about her personal experiences with health care: her kidney cancer diagnosis.

Hirono, Klobuchar wear themed masks for hearing

Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, wears a mask decorated with images of late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.Shawn Thew / Pool via Getty Images
Sen. Amy Klobuchar wears a pin of late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg at a confirmation hearing for Judge Amy Coney Barrett.Kevin Dietsch / Pool via Reuters

Capitol police arrest 21 outside Senate building

U.S. Capitol Police say they arrested 21 demonstrators outside the Dirksen Senate Office Building, where Amy Coney Barrett's confirmation hearings are taking place, on Monday morning.

Police spokesperson Eva Malecki said those arrested were charged with "crowding, obstructing or incommoding" and one person was charged with "unlawful conduct."

Trump rants about health care after Democrats focus on ACA

Hearing in recess until 12:20 p.m. ET

Graham announced that the hearing has recessed until 12:20 p.m. ET, at which point they will return to senators' opening statements.

Tillis delivers opening statement remotely after testing positive for the coronavirus

Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., delivered his opening statement remotely because, like fellow GOP Sen. Mike Lee, who is attending the hearing in person, he also recently tested for Covid-19. 

The GOP senator, who is facing a tough re-election race, defended Barrett's record and echoed the argument made by his fellow Republicans that Democrats want the judiciary to uphold the policies that can't pass in Congress.

"She's not a legislator. That's our job," he said. "However, when the minority can't get their bad policies passed in Congress, they turn to the courts to demand that judges interpret the law, not as written, but as they prefer." 

Protesters clash with Barrett supporters outside Supreme Court

Supporters of Judge Amy Coney Barrett attempt to drown out pro-choice supporters outside the Supreme Court on Oct. 12, 2020.Samuel Corum / Getty Images