LIVE: Senators Question Supreme Court Nominee Amy Coney Barrett in Confirmation Hearings

Democrats grilled U.S. Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett for hours about abortion rights, health-care law, guns and election disputes but made little progress derailing her likely Senate confirmation and a strengthened conservative majority on the court.

Barrett refused to say on Tuesday whether she would disqualify herself from any disputes over the impending presidential election and offered no hints on how she would vote if the court reconsiders the landmark abortion case Roe v. Wade. In the second day of her Senate Judiciary Committee hearings, she also parried questions on gun rights, the general fate of longstanding Supreme Court precedents and the Affordable Care Act.

Barrett told senators she made no promises to President Donald Trump about how she would vote on an ACA case the Supreme Court will hear a week after Election Day. She said her previous criticisms of rulings backing the law, also known as Obamacare, weren’t pertinent to the latest case. Trump is urging the Supreme Court to invalidate the law, an outcome that almost certainly would require her vote.

“I have had no conversations with the president or any of his staff on how I might rule in that case,” Barrett said. “It would be a gross violation of judicial independence for me to make a such a commitment or for me to be asked about that case and how I would rule.”

Democrats may not be able to achieve much more than aiming pointed questions at Barrett — and hoping their skepticism will resonate with voters — since Senate Republicans have the numbers and the determination to confirm her before the Nov. 3 election. Barrett declined to answer questions on some issues she has expressed personal opinions on in the past, such as abortion rights, or on what she would do regarding other matters likely to come before the Supreme Court.

Barrett maintained a calm and even-handed demeanor as she faced questions on hot-button legal issues and her personal views. She refused to promise to disqualify herself from any dispute involving the impending presidential election, despite Trump’s public statements to the effect that he wanted to have her seated on the court before the vote for that purpose.

“I commit to you to fully and faithfully applying the law of recusal, and part of that law is to consider any appearance questions,” Barrett said. “But I can’t offer a legal conclusion right now about the outcome of the decision I would reach.”

Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont called that a “boilerplate response.”

At various points Barrett brought in her large and diverse family, as when Democratic Senator Dick Durbin asked how she was affected by the video of the May killing of George Floyd, a Black man, at the hands of a white Minneapolis police officer.

Barrett said she watched with her adopted Haitian daughter, Vivian. She said they cried together. Barrett said she considered the risks of police violence and discrimination to her Haitian adopted son, John Peter, or to any son Vivian might have.

“Given that I have two Black children, that was very, very personal for my family,” she said.

The committee’s top Democrat, Dianne Feinstein, began her questioning by relaying details about women in the 1950s who had dangerous procedures and sometimes harmed themselves to end pregnancies because abortion was illegal. Feinstein pressed Barrett, a devout Catholic, about whether she would uphold reproductive-rights precedents including Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion in all 50 states but permitted restrictions in the second and third trimesters. Barrett’s mentor, the late Justice Antonin Scalia, was critical of the ruling.

“Do you agree with Justice Scalia’s view that Roe was wrongly decided?” Feinstein asked.

“I completely understand why you are asking the question, but again I can’t pre-commit or say yes, I’m going in with some agenda, because I’m not. I don’t have an agenda,” Barrett replied. “I have an agenda to stick to the rule of law and decide cases as they come.”

Barrett, now a federal appeals court judge, would succeed Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, whose Sept. 18 death silenced one of court’s leading liberal voices. That would give the Supreme Court a 6-3 conservative majority.

“You would be the polar opposite of Justice Ginsburg,” said Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota.

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Comment (22)

  1. Amy Coney Barrett is a far-right extremist quasi-Catholic cult member of "People of Praise."

    This cult holds a patriarchal, extremist mindset the Pope would condemn.

    Amy Coney Barrett's rulings, as a circuit court judge overwhelmingly show she is homophobic, "submits" to her husband, "submits" allegiance to corporate power over We the People & consumers, rules w hostility toward workers, gig workers, civil liberties, unions, environmental protections, opposes worker overtime pay, favors corporate activist rulings that pollute, and rule on cases that strip consumers of protection from corporate fraud reports watchdog group Accountable.Us.

    Her "version" of Catholicism is at odds with most of Pope Francis' positions and traditional Catholic teachings For women's rights, voting rights, immigrants' rights, health care and environmental protections.

    The pope calls on the downtrodden to change the world economic order and denounces what he terms a "new colonialism" imposed by "the anonymous influence of mammon: corporations, loan agencies, certain 'free trade' treaties, and the imposition of measures of 'austerity' which always tighten the belt of workers and the poor." He speaks of the "sacred rights" of labor, lodging and land.

    He says the unfettered pursuit of money is "the dung of the devil" and castigates industrial nations for exploiting the raw materials and labor of the developing world.

    Pope Francis has repeatedly warned that time is running out to save the planet from perhaps irreversible harm to the ecosystem. "Let us not be afraid to say it: We want change, real change, structural change," the pope has stated, decrying a system that "has imposed the mentality of profit at any price, with no concern for social exclusion or the destruction of nature.

    Amy Coney Barrett is a threat to We the People. Please inundate Republican senators by sending them a note via their Senate office contact form.

    If you are unfortunate to have a Republican in the US Senate send a note to them too.

  2. TRUMP 2020 – This woman is perfect for America and perfect for this position. She loves this Country and is a True American. To the Pathetic Libtards who are going to have their oh so often negative comments…..Save em, nobody cares anymore, you've lost all respect from us Americans.

  3. 1:18:35 Sexual preference is not outdated nor is it offensive. Choice and preference are not synonymous. I prefer men. I didn’t choose to prefer men. I just do.

  4. I was surprised to see that you could still comment on this and then I saw the comments. This is precisely what I expected after Kavanaugh. Call a person an “eyewitness” who didn’t meet Kavanaughs “victim” until 17 years after it happened and we will spend as much time as possible discussing what the definition of is, is. So calling her an evil colonialist for adopting kids of different race didn’t work so now we’ll dance around an interpretation of what words could mean.

  5. Glad her husband coached her on what to say. Now I hope he teaches her how to take the safety of so they both can kill themselves together. Seriously fuck all you conservatives if this civil war kicks off you're dead.

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