“There is a long history of anti-Catholic hatred by some in this country, and a growing tide of anti-religious animus on the left now, and I hope you and your colleagues will not play any further part in it,” Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri, a Republican member of the committee, wrote on Saturday in a letter to Mr. Schumer.
Democrats say they do not intend to give Republicans what they want. Democratic senators involved in the confirmation process see little upside in dwelling on Judge Barrett’s personal views or her fervent religious beliefs, even though many of them consider her opinions to be extreme and fear they would influence her decisions on the bench.
“My challenge to her is not going to be personal,” said Senator Richard Blumenthal, Democrat of Connecticut. “It is about breaking the norms in this sham, rushed, illegitimate process, and about her advocacy of breaking with established precedent and views that are extreme right-wing.”
But Democrats, furious about what they said was a hypocritical reversal by Republicans who refused to consider President Barack Obama’s nominee in 2016 on the grounds that it was an election year, were still debating how to approach the confirmation process itself. Members of the Judiciary Committee discussed boycotting the hearings to try to starve them of legitimacy, but ultimately decided it was better not to cede Republicans an uninterrupted platform.
Progressive activists are pushing for an even bigger fight, pressuring Mr. Schumer to use Senate procedure to try to detain Republicans fighting for re-election in Washington for much of October and discredit the proceedings to the public.
In a memo circulating on Capitol Hill, liberal strategists suggested that Democrats use parliamentary tactics to essentially grind the Senate’s daily business to a halt, forcing repeated roll call votes that would require Republicans to attend in person, among other moves.
“Mere capitulation to what Washington insiders see as the inevitable will be viewed by many as abandonment of the Democratic base and could undermine enthusiasm,” they wrote.
Chris Cameron contributed reporting.