Democrats argue Barrett threatens Obamacare at confirmation hearing while GOP touts her abilities

Updated 2:38 PM EDT, Mon October 12, 2020
In this May 19, 2018 file photo, Amy Coney Barrett, United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit judge, speaks during the University of Notre Dame's Law School commencement ceremony at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana.
PHOTO: Robert Franklin/South Bend Tribune/AP
In this May 19, 2018 file photo, Amy Coney Barrett, United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit judge, speaks during the University of Notre Dame's Law School commencement ceremony at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana.
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(CNN) —  

Partisan battle lines were clearly drawn on Monday when the confirmation hearing of Judge Amy Coney Barrett, President Donald Trump’s choice to fill the seat of the late liberal icon, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, got underway in a bitterly divided Senate with Election Day just weeks away.

Sharply divergent narratives emerged in opening speeches as Republican senators praised Barrett’s judicial qualifications in glowing terms and emphasized her capability as a working mom, while Democrats warned that health care protections and the Affordable Care Act are at stake, and will be under threat, if the confirmation succeeds.

The hearing already appears on track to be a firestorm as Republicans push forward with almost unprecedented speed and Democrats look for ways to draw out the process for the lifetime appointment. Meanwhile, across the street at the Supreme Court, the remaining eight justices, who have just begun a new term, find themselves, and the court, once again in an unwelcome political spotlight.