Oct. 15 (UPI) -- Overruling Democratic objections, the Republican majority of the Senate judiciary committee on Thursday said the panel will vote next week whether to advance the Supreme Court nomination of Amy Coney Barrett for a full floor vote.
Chairman Sen. Lindsey Graham said the committee will vote on Oct. 22 at the start of the fourth and final day of confirmation hearings for Barrett's appointment.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., unsuccessfully sought a postponement, calling the nomination a "sham process."
The 22-member committee is expected approve Barrett's confirmation along party lines. If approved, her appointment would move to the full Senate where it needs a simple majority for final confirmation.
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell told reporters Thursday he plans to schedule the full Senate vote a day later, on Oct. 23. President Donald Trump has urged Barrett be confirmed before the Nov. 3 election.
Democrats are hoping to compel four Republican senators to vote against her confirmation, arguing that winner of the Nov. 3 presidential election should nominate the next Supreme Court justice, who will succeed Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
A slate of witnesses were scheduled to testify Thursday following two days in which members questioned Barrett on topics including abortion, voting rights, the Affordable Care Act and legal matters involving the president.
Despite repeated attempts over nearly 20 hours of questioning to gauge her political leanings, Barrett refused to express personal views on controversial issues or critique earlier court rulings, such as the landmark 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision that legalized abortion.
During questioning, Democrats zeroed in on healthcare and fears that Barrett may provide a decisive vote in striking down the ACA when a Republican-led legal challenge comes before the high court the week after the Nov. 3 election.
Republicans, meanwhile, criticized Democrats for "playing politics" with the hearing while praising Barrett's character and qualifications for the lifetime appointment, Trump's third since he took office in 2017.
The first witness panel Thursday included legal experts from the American Bar Association to speak to Barrett's qualifications. The second will feature witnesses called by committee members to speak for or against Barrett's confirmation.
It was at this stage in 2018 that Christine Blasey Ford testified before the committee that nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her decades ago. Kavanaugh was eventually confirmed by the panel and, later, the full Senate by a vote of 50-48.
Among those invited to speak by ranking Democrat Sen. Diane Feinstein are Crystal Good, who fought in court for an abortion at age 16, and Stacy Staggs, the mother of 7-year-old twins with pre-existing conditions who will testify about the importance of the Affordable Care Act.
Witnesses called by committee Chairman Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., include retired judge Thomas Griffith, who has praised Barrett, and attorney Laura Wolk, one of Barrett's former law students.