Erin Schaff/The New York Times

On Tuesday, senators began their questioning of Judge Amy Coney Barrett during her Supreme Court confirmation hearing.

Main Point – Barrett says she would not be ‘used as a pawn’ to decide potential election case:

Judge Barrett described her judicial philosophy, as questioning got underway. Barrett calls herself a strict textualist in the tradition of her mentor, the late Justice Antonin Scalia.

“In English, that means I interpret the Constitution as a law,” said Judge Barrett. “The text is text, and I understand it to have the meaning that it had at the time people ratified it. It does not change over time, and it is not up to me to update it or infuse my own views into it.”

When asked by Senator Lindsey Graham if it would be fair to call her a “female Scalia,” Judge Barrett said that he had been a mentor, but “[she] wants to be careful to say if [she’s] confirmed, you would not be getting Justice Scalia. You would be getting Justice Barrett, and that is because not all originalists agree.”

Moreover, Republicans work to focus on the qualifications of Judge Barrett, emphasizing her status as an accomplished working mother of seven.

The Notable Blank Notepad:

Later, Senator John Cornyn invited her to hold up the pad she had at the witness table. Judge Barrett held up a blank page. This showed that she was delivering her testimony, including detailed legal references, without any notes.

Judge Barrett holding up a blank notepad after Senator John Cornyn asked her what documents or notes she had on her desk. Credit: Erin Schaff/The New York Times.

In response to this, Barrett said, “Justices do not set an agenda… they respond to the cases that come before them.” The description of the process was accurate, but also largely irrelevant in today’s legal world. Today, interest groups seek out and advance cases to come to the Supreme Court for the express purpose of getting justices to rule on policies to match their political beliefs.

Response to Roe v. Wade:

Senator Dianne Feinstein of California reminded Judge Barrett that Justice Scalia had famously written that the Roe v. Wade decision establishing abortion rights was wrongly decided and overturning it is necessary.

Judge Barrett refused to clarify her own views on the issue.

In response to this, Barrett said that this citing of lines from other nominees could not comment on legal issues that might come back before the court, beyond simply discussing the role of precedent generally in the law.

Later on, Senator Patrick J. Leahy in his questioning presented Judge Barrett with a 2006 advertisement she had signed in support of overturning Roe v. Wade and its “barbaric legacy.” He asked if she agreed with the group behind it which argued elsewhere that in vitro fertilization ought to be criminalized.

Her response: “I signed it on the way out of church,” Judge Barrett said. “It was consistent with the views of my church, and it simply said we support the right to life from conception to natural death. It took no position on I.V.F.”

Day 2 Full Highlights Video: 

Other Important Events:
  • Citing Justice Ginsburg, Judge Barrett deflects questions on overruling precedents.
  • Barrett insists her Catholic beliefs wouldn’t affect her rulings and says she anticipated her ‘faith would be caricatured.’
  • Judge Barrett defends her failure to submit documents she signed expressing an anti-abortion position.
  • ‘We wept together’: Judge Barrett describes the reaction to George Floyd video.
  • Harris interrogates Barrett’s stances on health care and reproductive rights at Senate hearing.
  • Judge Barrett uses ‘sexual preference’ to describe the L.G.B.T. community, and then apologizes.
  • Booker highlights an open letter faculty members at Notre Dame wrote calling on Barrett to halt her confirmation process.

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Final Thoughts: 

Ultimately, a lot occurred on Day 2 of the hearing. From what I have read and listened to, Judge Barrett seems to undoubtedly abide by the written law, promising to neglect her own personal beliefs in order to prevent any “swaying” her judgment if confirmed.

Knowing her character and background, I am sure that she will stick to her promises and unbreakable will. Looking forward to seeing what Day 3 & 4 of the Judicial hearing brings along.

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