As Trump Considers Amy Coney Barrett, He Faces a Tightrope

Some in the party, however, are comforted by the broader composition of the panel.

“I think we’ve got enough women on the Judiciary Committee who know how to handle themselves,” said Senator Maria Cantwell of Washington.

Democratic leaders like Mr. Biden and Mr. Schumer are trying to keep the court focused squarely on health care, believing that any discussion about future court rulings on the Affordable Care Act benefits the party, no matter how conservative or liberal the state.

A titanic clash over cultural hot buttons such as abortion rights or gun rights might ultimately be more helpful to some Senate Republicans in rallying their base in tough re-election races than in delivering additional votes to Mr. Trump.

Some of the states the president is eager to poach from Democrats, such as New Hampshire and Minnesota, or that he is straining to defend, like Michigan, tilt toward supporting abortion rights.

“New Hampshire is a pro-choice state,” said Judd Gregg, a former Republican governor and senator there. “If it becomes a major issue, especially for independent women, it will have an impact.”

But further inflaming an already polarized electorate could be enough to propel embattled senators from red-leaning states, like Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Joni Ernst of Iowa, and even those from more moderate states with large evangelical populations, like Mr. Tillis. Of course, that’s cold comfort to G.O.P. senators from Maine, Colorado and Arizona, states where over half the electorate supports abortion rights, according to polling in recent years.

But for now, Republicans are happy just to be changing the subject.

“We’re going to spend the month of October talking about what Republicans and this administration have done best for last four years,” Mr. Holmes said. “These hearings are not going to be a retrospective on the pandemic or a discussion on the personalities of the candidates.”