Barrett Nominated for the Bench
Maureen Lynch, Staff Writer
Throughout the month of October, Capital Hill has been front and center. With the elections heating up, Congress has been quick to push through its latest nominee to the Supreme Court Bench. Judge Amy Coney Barrett was nominated to the high court in late September. Since then, her road to the bench has been fast tracked as Washington becomes engulfed in the race for the presidency.
The hearings for Judge Barrett took place the week of October 11. From Monday to Thursday selected members of Congress gathered with the federal judge to decide whether she has what it takes to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The lead up to these hearings was fraught with political drama, with Democrats pushing back against Barrett’s nomination. These hearings, many thoughts, would be filled with the same contention and scandal as the hearings for Justice Kavanaugh back in 2018.
However, Barrett’s hearings went smoothly. USA Today reported that, unlike with the hearings for Justice Kavanaugh, because of COVID-19 restrictions, protestors were forced to stay outside the building. During the Kavanaugh debates however, protesters could be heard outside the door as they swarmed the building. The Senate Judiciary Committee also did not seem to be as heated or aggressive as many suspected. The Senate, who will vote on Barrett’s conformation to the high court, has a Republican majority. As reported by NPR, Congressman Lindsey Graham said it was almost a done deal that Barrett be confirmed. The Democrats on the committee instead took the time to discuss political issues facing the courts, such as the Affordable Care Act and abortion rights.
Throughout the hearings, Barrett remained tight-lipped about her political views, citing that many judges who also had hearings before past Senate Judiciary committees declined to speak about their political ideals. This was a major theme throughout the hearings, with Democrats repeatedly asking Barrett about her past court rulings and how her faith would impact her decisions on the bench. Barrett continually responded that her Catholic faith would not sway her decision one way or the other. However, Democrats revealed that many of her rulings on past cases would suggest a more conservative outlook, according to BBC. This comes as no surprise to many on Capitol Hill. According to NPR, President Trump has publicly vowed to put judges on the bench who would repeal the Affordable Care Act and roll back abortion rights. This caused the hyper fixation on Barrett’s political views.
Though Barrett was not willing to talk politics, she did discuss her approach to law. As a mentee of the late Justice Scalia, she identifies originalist, meaning that she believes the best approach to law is to interpret it strictly as it is written. Many liberal Democrats took issue with this view, according to BBC. They believe that this type of interpretation leaves little room for growth or progress within society.
Judge Amy Coney Barrett has yet to be confirmed, though it is likely that she will become the next Supreme Court Justice of the United States. The Senate is set to vote the week of the October 26th, though the exact date is not yet set, according to the New York Times.