Lindsey Graham, Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, RS.C., ended the first day of the Supreme Court hearing of Judge Amy Coney Barrett with a warning of the difficult road ahead.
Monday’s portion of the hearing ended before 3 p.m. local time as the committee members and Barrett delivered their opening speech without going back and forth. That changes on Tuesday, which initiates a lengthy survey process.
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“We’re starting tomorrow with 30-minute rounds followed by 20-minute rounds. Just do the math, we have a few long days ahead of us,”
Starting at around 9 a.m. Eastern Time, each Senator will take turns grilling Barrett on topics likely to be related to their background, previous court decisions, general legal philosophy, legal issues like abortion or health care, or the man who nominated them, President Trump.
If you look at day one, it seems that an integral part of the Democrats’ strategy to oppose Barrett is their previous criticism of the 2012 Supreme Court ruling that introduced the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare , has been confirmed. A week after the November election, the Supreme Court will hear a case to determine whether Obamacare is still constitutional as there is no longer any penalty attached to the individual mandate.
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In 2012, the court ruled – in a statement drafted by Chief Justice John Roberts – that the penalty is a tax and is therefore tied to a Congressional constitutional power. The Trump administration argues that there is now no penalty, no constitutional basis for the mandate and that as a result the whole thing must fall.
Several Democrats, including 2020 Vice Presidential Candidate Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., Alleged Trump and other Republicans wanted to rush and approve Barrett so she could sit in the bench to hear arguments on the case as a key vote in Obamacare eliminate it for good.
However, as pointed out by Law & Crime’s Elura Nanos, this could be a flawed argument as six of the other judges have records advocating the principle of separability. This means they could potentially decide that other parts of the Affordable Care Act could survive, even though the mandate is unconstitutional.
A look at three years ago could also give some insight into how Democrats might question Barrett. During her 2017 Seventh Court of Appeal confirmation hearing, she faced questions from Sens. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., And Dick Durbin, D-Ill., About her religious background and beliefs.
Feinstein criticized Barrett at the time, saying that “the dogma lives out loud within you” and that it is “worrying”. Durbin asked Barrett if she was an “Orthodox Catholic” and borrowed a term Barrett used in a legal exam article she co-wrote in 1998 as a student.
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On Monday, Senator Josh Hawley, R-Mo., Defended Barrett from such possible attacks, claiming that they undermine religious freedom.
“This fundamental principle of American freedom is now under attack,” Hawley said. “This is what my Democratic colleagues are about to question Judge Barrett and others repeatedly about their religious beliefs.”
Fox News’ Evie Fordham contributed to this report.