In-Depth Analysis on the four-day confirmation hearings for Judge Amy Coney Barrett


The first day of confirmation hearings for Judge Amy Coney Barret began Monday, Oct. 12, during which opening statements were delivered from the twenty-two senators on the Senate Judiciary Committee. 

The second and third days of the ACB hearings included questions on socially divisive issues including abortion, climate change, Obamacare, and possible election-related cases that could come before the Supreme Court. Day four concluded the ACB hearings with testimonies from outside witnesses.

The vote to confirm Judge Barrett in the place of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is set to be roughly two weeks before the US presidential election – on October 22. Protestors rallied outside the senate buildings on Thursday, October 15, where 26 individuals were arrested for allegedly crowding or obstructing. Another individual was charged with resisting arrest (FOX).  

The opening statements Monday were delivered by 12 Republicans and 10 Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee in an environment suited to limit the spread of the coronavirus. Some senators took part remotely, and other senators that appeared in person were socially distancing in the specially arranged hearing room. The opening statements lasted four hours of the Monday hearings, followed by Judge Barrett speaking on her judicial philosophy as influenced by her conservative mentor Justice Antonin Scalia. 

The subjects of questioning that took place during the second and third days of the hearing featured judicial independence, the Affordable Care Act, a possible contesting of the 2020 election, Roe v. Wade, and climate change. In respect to the Affordable Care Act, Barret said to Democrats, “I’m not hostile to the ACA, I’m not hostile to any statute that you have.” When clarifying her commitment to nonpartisan judicial conduct, Barret said “I am 100% committed to judicial independence from political pressure,” in response to Senator Amy Klobuchar. 

Barret, throughout the questioning, maintained that she does not regard Roe v. Wade as “super precedent,” unlike Brown v. Board of Education. Barret argued that engaging in questions about the claim that the president could postpone the election would make her a “legal pundit.” Along with her refusal to answer questions regarding the election, she also declined to answer whether voter intimidation should be unlawful. “Under federal law, is it illegal to intimidate voters at the poll?” asked Senator Klobuchar. “I can’t apply the law to a hypothetical set of facts,” Judge Barret replied. 

On the fourth day, witnesses testified for and against Judge Barrett, with Republicans subsequently prevailing in scheduling a committee vote to take place on Oct. 22. Senator Lindsey Graham called the vote with only one Democrat present, ignoring objections that committee rules require at least two members of the minority party present to conduct business. “I want to take official note of the fact that I am the only member of the minority that is here, and so we cannot conduct business until that second member of the minority arrives,” Senator Durbin said. The claim was rejected by Senator Graham, arguing that Democrats would also proceed regardless if they were in his position.



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