Amy Coney Barrett Supreme Court Confirmation Hearing Day 3: Takeaways and Analysis
Amy Coney Barrett received another series of questions from the Senate Judiciary Committee during the third day of her nomination hearings for the Supreme Court.
Barrett, the candidate of President Donald Trump to succeed late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, also faced a long day of questioning from the 22 senators.
The committee's Democrats challenged her to describe her views on the Health Care Act, reproductive rights, the forthcoming referendum, and other divisive topics she would need to vote on if she is approved.
Graham insists idea that Barrett would support ObamaCare
Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Lindsey Graham, suggested that Barrett would vote to uphold the Affordable Care Act, also known as ObamaCare, in an upcoming case.
A judicial principle known as severability defends himself in his tough reelection race against Democrat Jaime Harrison from political attacks.
Barrett clarified that the issue before the court is if, as the Trump administration and some GOP-led states contend, a part of the ACA should be "severed" if the act were found unlawful, or if the entire legislation will have to break.
"The presumption is always in favor of severability," said Barrett.
Democrats are moving in the opposite direction on ObamaCare
Democrats did not deter themselves by Graham's suggestion that Barrett would uphold the ACA, CNN reported.
California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the senior Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, also challenged the candidate for the doctrine on severability.
Barrett clarified to Feinstein that the doctrine was like a "Jenga" puzzle, where a court would determine whether a rule will stand whether half of it is pulled out.
"If you don't want a judge to undo your employment, Barrett advised her that severability" serves a beneficial purpose in attempting not to undo your career.
Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont stated that Barrett had not published or talked in support of the ACA but had openly blamed the court and Chief Justice John Roberts for voting to maintain parts of it.
On Wednesday, Barrett said she had previously spoken as an academic rather than a judge and had never had an opportunity to speak on the policy question.
"I have no animus for, or agenda for, the Affordable Care Act," Barrett later told Minnesota Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar.
Barrett claims no one is beyond the law but refuses to say whether Trump will pardon himself
Leahy also questioned Barrett about whether Trump may pardon himself. "No one is above the rules," Barrett said. But she refused to respond to the issue and claiming it "has never been litigated."
Barrett said the issue calls for the legal examination of what the reach of the right of pardon is. "So because it would [depend] on an open question when I haven't gone through the judicial process to decide it, it's not one in which I can offer a view."
Barrett claims the constitutional right to contraceptives is 'very unlikely to go anywhere'
Delaware Democratic Sen. Chris Coons asked Barrett that Griswold v. Connecticut established that married couples have a right to obtain and use contraception in their own home's privacy and was wrongly decided if she agreed with her mentor and former boss, the late Justice Antonin Scalia.
Barrett replied that "very, very, very, very, very, very, very unlikely to go anywhere" is the Griswold precedent.
She clarified that it is "unthinkable that every legislature will enact such a statute," banning the use of birth control and that a lower court is "highly difficult" to buck the precedent of the Supreme Court.
Kamala Harris presses Barrett on civil freedom, employees' freedom and climate change
The Democratic vice presidential candidate, California Sen. Kamala Harris, questioned Barrett about Shelby County v. Holder, which enabled those counties with a history of voter intimidation to avoid increased federal oversight under the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Harris said that since the Supreme Court settled the case in 2013, at least 23 states have enacted discriminatory voting rules.
She then wondered whether Barrett agreed with Chief Justice John Roberts, who wrote in that opinion that there is always "voting discrimination; nobody questions that." Barrett claimed that she would not express a view to the court on future lawsuits.
"I think racial discrimination still exists in the United States, and I think we've seen evidence of that this summer," added Barrett.
Republicans are optimistic that the committee would confirm Barrett
On Wednesday, Republican senators seemed adamant that by the end of the month, they would approve the Notre Dame law professor and judge at the 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals, granting the Supreme Court a solid 6-3 vote for conservatives.
Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas said the last three days of inquiries showed really positive news. "This committee and the entire Senate are going to confirm Judge Barrett."
After it is all completed, the committee will hold the fourth day of the hearings, with testimony for and against Barrett's confirmation from outside witnesses.
After 18 hours of inquiry by senators on Tuesday and Wednesday, Barrett is not scheduled to testify again.
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