Supreme Court Nominee Undergoes Tense Week of Questioning
Amy Coney Barrett, President Trump’s nominee to replace the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s seat on the Supreme Court, underwent her confirmation hearings last week in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee. There were a bevy of questions about her record and the way in which she would judge, ranging from comparisons to her mentor, the late justice Antonin Scalia, and questions about how she would rule on certain issues such as healthcare and the election.
In Judge Barrett’s opening statement, she vowed to remain impartial, viewing all cases from the perspectives of both parties. She also acknowledged that while she has been nominated to fill Justice Ginsburg’s seat, she doesn't think she will ever take her place, and is forever grateful for the life she led.
Senators opened with fiery statements and began questioning Barrett’s record on key partisan issues. Sen. Diane Feinstein began with the democratic position:
“Voting is underway in 40 states,” Feinstein said. “Senate Republicans are pushing forward, full speed ahead, to consolidate a court that will carry their policies forward with, I hope, some review, for the will of the American people.”
On the issue of the election, Senators Kamala Harris and Richard Blumenthal slammed the appointment of a new Supreme Court justice right before the election, with Blumenthal asking that, if elected to the court, Judge Barrett should recuse herself from any case regarding contentions to the legitimacy of the election. Republicans took the position that Democrats were trying to tear down a credible candidate for partisan reasons.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) took on a certain importance in the first day of hearings, as Democrats believed a conservative judge would swing the court in favor of striking down ACA protections for millions of Americans, with statements by Senators Amy Klobuchar and Mazie Hirono outlining the importance of these protections.
The following days continued with Barrett outlining the way in which she would rule on the court, establishing herself as a strict Constitutionalist, or someone who rules with strict adherence to the words of the US constitution as it was written 300 years ago.
However, she made sure to add that while Justice Scalia was the blueprint for her views, she will make her own decisions. She also was very careful when answering questions about how she would rule, once again swearing to be impartial.
Republicans continued to tout her credentials and positions on certain issues, with Senator Lindsey Graham stating:
“This is the first time in American history that we’ve nominated a woman who is unashamedly pro-life and embraces her faith without apology.”
With such a contentious process last week, President Trump proposed that the committee skip the committee hearings and go straight to a vote. Senator Graham snapped back, saying that they were simply upholding the centuries old tradition of the nomination process.
Even still, Senator Graham essentially stated on day one that no matter what happens, Republicans will vote yes and Democrats will vote no. The committee vote is scheduled for Oct. 22nd and the full Senate vote the 26th. The East High Messenger Staff will provide updates on future developments.