“It’s not a question I can answer in the abstract,” Barrett said.
Responding to questions about abortion, which was legalized by the Supreme Court in a 1973 decision called Roe v. Wade, Barrett said she would, as in other cases, consider the various factors usually applied when judges would assess whether to set aside a precedent.
Senator Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the panel, asked Barrett if she believed Roe v. Wade, which recognized a woman’s constitutional right to terminate a pregnancy, had been properly decided. She refused to answer.
Feinstein told Barrett it was “disturbing” that she didn’t give an answer.
Religious conservatives hope the Supreme Court will overturn Roe v. Wade.
‘I will follow the law’
Barrett is committed to following the rules that bind judges when they consider overturning a precedent.
“I promise to do this for any problem that arises, abortion or whatever. I will obey the law, ”Barrett said.
Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, chair of the committee, opened the questioning by asking him questions about his conservative legal philosophy known as originalism, in which laws and the constitution are interpreted according to their meaning. at the time they were adopted.
“That meaning doesn’t change over time and it’s not for me to update it or infuse my own political views into it,” Barrett said.
Graham asked Barrett, a devout Catholic and favorite of religious conservatives, if she could put her religious beliefs aside to make legal decisions.
“I can,” Barrett said.
Protesters for and against Barrett’s appointment rally in DC:
Barrett called the late Tory Judge Antonin Scalia, for whom she served as a clerk two decades ago, as her mentor, but said she wouldn’t always reign in the same way he did.
“You won’t get Judge Scalia, you’d get Judge Barrett.” This is because the originalists don’t always agree, ”she says.
Barrett was appointed to the court by Republican President Donald Trump late last month following the death of Liberal Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Democrats unlikely to block confirmation
She could be in the Supreme Court in time for the Nov. 10 arguments in a case in which Trump and the Republican-led states seek to strike down the 2010 Affordable Care Act, the signature of the former’s domestic policy. Democratic President Barack Obama who has allowed millions of Americans to get medical coverage.
It is also possible that he is asked to influence electoral disputes.
Republicans have a 53-47 majority in the Senate, leaving Democrats with little to no chance of blocking Barrett’s confirmation.
Barrett, 48, would tilt the Supreme Court further to the right and give Tory justices a 6-3 majority, making even the unexpected victories the Liberals have prevailed over in recent years, including abortion and gay rights , even rarer.
WATCH Barrett swears to follow the law, not to do it:
Trump’s appointment of Barrett came late in an election cycle when Republican control of the White House and Senate is on the line. The format of the confirmation hearing has changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the public being excluded and some senators participating remotely.
The hearing is a key step ahead of a full Senate vote by the end of October on Barrett’s confirmation of lifetime employment in the field.