President Donald Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court, Amy Coney Barrett, is appearing before senators in what has been billed as a “contentious week” of confirmation hearings.
The 48-year-old conservative jurist has vowed to judge legal cases impartially.
But her nomination so close to the 3 November presidential election has sparked a political row between the Republicans and rival Democrats.
The panel’s top Republican began by vowing to confirm the “great woman”.
But one Democratic senator on the committee described the process as “shameful”.
Judge Barrett’s approval would cement a 6-3 conservative majority on the nine-member top court, shifting its ideological balance for potentially decades to come.
President Trump picked Judge Barrett to replace liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died last month aged 87.
The Republicans – who currently hold a slim majority in the US Senate, the body that confirms Supreme Court judges – are trying to complete the process before Mr Trump takes on Democratic rival Joe Biden in the election.