Supreme Court hearings for Amy Coney Barrett begin

Amy Coney Barrett in 2018.

Hearings for Supreme Court Justice nominee Amy Coney Barrett began early on Monday, Oct. 12, with opening statements coming from Democratic and Republican senators.

The hearings to confirm Amy Coney Barrett came roughly three weeks before the presidential election. 

Questions from senators have involved questioning Barrett on views regarding abortion rights, LGBTQ+ rights, and healthcare. 

The hearing on Tuesday, Oct. 13, lasted around 12 hours, with senators questioning Barrett.

Amy Coney Barrett, if confirmed, would replace late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s spot on the Supreme Court. She would also give the Supreme Court a six to three conservative majority. 

When asked about her views on various issues from the courtabortion and healthcare being the major twoJudge Barrett refused to share her views on those issues. Previous nominees to the Supreme Court have followed the same tactic as Judge Barrett during their hearings.

During her first day of questioning, when asked about the possibility of the Supreme Court having to weigh in the possible election outcome, Judge Barrett stated, “I have no mission and no agenda. Judges don’t have campaign promises.” 

Questions from Democrats focused on issues involving the Affordable Care Act, Roe v. Wade, and the election to see where Judge Barrett stood. Republicans focused on Barrett’s credentials and extensive background in her career. 

In questioning by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R. SC) about her views on certain cases, like Roe v. Wade, and how she would react, Judge Barrett explained that she could not take precedent over those issues (i.e. abortion and healthcare) due to litigation that is currently in the courts. 

Questioning from Sen. Dianne Feinstein on Tuesday (D. CA) was focused on abortion and LGBTQ+ rights, to which Judge Barrett stated, “I have an agenda to stick to the law,” and that she had “no agenda to try to overrule other decisions”: decisions like what she had been asked on Tuesday about healthcare, abortion, and LGBTQ+ rights. 

On Thursday, Oct. 15, additional witnesses were questioned by the Senate Judiciary Committee. Outside witnesses included Laura Wolk, in support of Barrett, the first blind woman to clerk on the Supreme Court; Crystal Good, an abortion rights advocate, who spoke against confirming Barrett; and Farhan Bhatti, the CEO of Care Free Medical.  

According to a separate BBC article, “Republicans are expected to use their witnesses to highlight Judge Barrett’s character and qualifications, while the Democratic line-up will again focus on their key talking points: the future of abortion and the ACA.” 

Wolk spoke of Barrett’s kindness and decency.

Good spoke of her personal experience in receiving an abortion after having been granted special permission to receive one without parental consent when she was 16. Good said that she is who she is today because of having access to an abortion. 

Bhatti talked about his patients in Michigan “who have relied on the expansion of Medicaid . . . for their coverage,” according to The Washington Post. He also spoke to how he, as a front-line doctor, has seen how the Affordable Care Act has helped patients. 

Now that the hearings have concluded, it is up to the Senate Judiciary Committee and then the rest of the Senate to decide on confirming Judge Barrett into the Supreme Court. 

Republicans hold the Senate majority, with 53 seats over the Democrats’ 45, and the two Independents who caucus with Democrats, making it so the vote to confirm Barrett will most likely go through. 

 Thursday, Oct. 22, is the set date for the vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee to decide on confirming Judge Amy Coney Barrett.

Democrats urged to delay confirming Barrett until after the election, but Republicans stated that they have the majority and are planning on moving forward with the vote to take place in the full Senate on Oct. 23.

The schedule of proceedings looks as such: 

Oct. 12: Hearings for Judge Amy Coney Barrett began.

Oct. 13: Second day of hearings began around 9 a.m. and ended around 9 p.m. that night.

Oct. 14: Third and final day of questioning for Judge Barrett occurred.

Oct. 15: Witnesses were called on and questioned by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Oct. 22: The Senate Judiciary Committee will vote on whether or not to confirm Judge Barrett.

Oct. 23 or later: Full Senate votes on whether or not to confirm Barrett.

Nov. 3: Election Day.

 

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