Senator Lindsey Graham fended off Democratic objections to fix the panel’s Oct. 22 vote on the recommendation of her confirmation even before the last witnesses testified before and against her nomination.
“It’s a sham,” said Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota.
In the minority, Democrats admitted there was little they could do to stop Republicans from locking a Tory majority on court for years to come. The change would cement a conservative 6-3 majority in court and would be the most pronounced ideological shift in 30 years, from the liberal icon to the conservative judge on the court of appeals.
Faced with nearly 20 hours of questions from senators, the 48-year-old judge was careful not to confront the president who appointed her and sought to part with writing on controversial topics when she was an academic. She ignored pressing questions from Democrats about securing next month’s election date or preventing voter intimidation, both of which are enshrined in federal law, and the peaceful transfer of presidential power.
She also declined to express her views on whether the president can forgive himself.
“This is not a point of view that I can offer,” she said in response to a question asked Wednesday by Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont.
Democrats have raised these questions because Trump has raised them himself.
Previous pro-life advocacy
Regarding major issues that may arise in court, including abortion and healthcare, Barrett has repeatedly vowed to keep an open mind and said neither Trump nor anyone else in the White House had tried to influence his point of view.
“No one has gotten any engagement from me in any business,” she said.
Candidates generally resist offering more information than they need, especially when the president’s party controls the Senate as it currently does. But Barrett would not engage in topics that seemed easy to dismiss, including the fact that only Congress can change the date of the election.
WATCH l Barrett asked about the justice she would replace:
Barrett said she was not on a “mission to destroy the Affordable Care Act,” although she criticized the two Supreme Court rulings that preserved key parts of the healthcare law. health of the Obama era. She could be on the pitch when she hears the latest Republican-led challenge on November 10.
Barrett has been the most open abortion opponent appointed to the Supreme Court in decades, and Democrats fear his rise may be a tipping point that threatens abortion rights.
Republican senators adopted her position, proudly declaring that she was, in Graham’s words, a “shameless pro-life” conservative who makes history a role model for other women.
Republican Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri said there was nothing wrong with confirming a devout pro-life Christian.
Barrett declined to say whether the landmark 1973 Roe v Wade decision on abortion rights had been properly decided, despite signing an open letter seven years ago that called the ruling “infamous.”
Democrats have repeatedly insisted on the judge’s approach to healthcare, abortion, racial fairness and voting rights, but admitted they were unlikely to prevent his swift confirmation .
WATCH l Barrett spoke about historic civil rights law:
In an exchange with California Senator Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the panel, Barrett called the Voting Rights Act “a triumph in the civil rights movement,” without discussing the specifics of the previous challenge. The court will hear another challenge to the law early next year.
One of the most dramatic moments came on Wednesday night when Barrett told California Senator Kamala Harris, Democratic candidate for vice-president for president, that she would not say whether racial discrimination in the vote still exists. nor would he express his opinion on climate change.
Harris asked if she agreed with Chief Justice John Roberts, who wrote in a voting rights case in 2013 that “discrimination in voting still exists; no one doubts it. ”
Barrett said she “would not comment on what any judge said in an opinion. “
“Contentious” debate on climate change: Barrett
Asked whether “climate change is happening”, Barrett said she would not engage because it is “a very controversial issue of public debate.” Barrett, however, said she believes the new coronavirus is infectious and smoking causes cancer.
In addition to trying to overturn the healthcare law, Trump has publicly said he wants justice for any disputes arising from the election and in particular, the wave of mail-in ballots expected during the pandemic. , voters preferring to vote by post.
Barrett said she did not speak to Trump or his election case team and declined to pledge to challenge any post-election case.
The committee vote is scheduled for the same day Trump and Biden are scheduled to debate in Nashville.