Washington – The Senate Judiciary Committee closed on Thursday its fourth and final day of trial for the Supreme Court’s appointment of Judge Amy Coney Barrett from a committee vote scheduled for next week.
Republicans have the votes to send their confirmation of vote to the entire floor, but committee chairman Lindsey Graham announced that her nomination will be postponed for a week, as is customary under the committee’s rules.
Following a vote by the Republican-led panel, the Justice Committee officially scheduled a vote to approve Barrett’s nomination for October 22nd at 1
Democrats on the panel moved to adjourn the trial – although it was withdrawn – and to postpone Barrett’s nomination indefinitely. They argued that it was inappropriate to storm Barrett’s nomination so close to the November 3rd election. The Republican panel rejected the motion to delay Barrett’s nomination.
“This is a sham,” said Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar. “We should allow the election winner to choose this candidate.”
Democratic Senator Dick Durbin argued that there has been “a denigration of the process to the point where it is almost useless,” noting that Barrett refused to answer several questions that appear to have simple answers. She declined to say whether the president could unilaterally delay an election or prevent someone from voting, both of which are unconstitutional, or whether she believed climate change existed. Barrett didn’t respond because she said she didn’t want to get involved in political affairs.
“I would be afraid to ask her about the existence of gravity on Earth. She might refuse to answer because it might show up in one case,” said Durbin.
The Judicial Committee’s vote on October 22nd will result in an entire Senate vote in the week leading up to the election. With a three-seat Republican majority, their confirmation is as good as assured
– a fate recognized by the Democrats when they made one last ditch and unsuccessfully appealed to their Republican counterparts not to proceed with Barrett’s nomination.
“This goose is pretty cooked,” said Senator Cory Booker, a Democrat from New Jersey. Ranking member Dianne Feinstein at the end of the panel on Thursday thanked chairman Lindsey Graham for holding hearings where both parties had the same time and were treated with respect.
“This is one of the best hearings I have attended,” Feinstein told Graham. Graham, in turn, thanked the Democrats for asking Barrett respectful yet challenging questions.
“I accept these challenges as sincere and not personal,” said Graham of the Democrats’ questions to Barrett.
On the final day of Barrett’s confirmation hearings, statements were also made by two representatives of the American Bar Association who rated Barrett “well qualified” this week.
The first witness, Randall Noel, spoke about the impartial, impartial review the ABA is undertaking to evaluate a candidate. He said the ABA interviewed Barrett for over three and a half hours.
“Our ‘well qualified’ rating reflects the consensus of their peers who know them best,” said Noel.
Pamela Roberts, the senior evaluator of the ABA’s Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary Committee’s Evaluation of Barrett, said the panel received many “laudatory” comments and spent thousands of hours evaluating it.
“Judge Barrett has earned and enjoyed a reputation for integrity and outstanding character,” said Roberts. “Judges and attorneys alike praised the candidate’s integrity.”
Eight witnesses, four from Democrats and four from Republicans, also incriminated her legislative nomination. Barrett was absent on Thursday.
A notable witness was Judge Thomas Griffith, US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. He was nominated by George W. Bush, and among the Democrats who supported his nomination were then Senators Barack Obama and Joe Biden. Griffith officially retired in September and his seat was occupied by Judge Justin Walker.
Griffith called Barrett “extremely qualified” and said he agreed with Chief Justice John Roberts’ November 2018 statement denying the notion that there are Obama judges or Trump judges.
“The rule of law is a fragile option that should be more carefully protected by our leaders,” he said.
Some witnesses discussed how they benefited from the Affordable Care Act. Another, Crystal Good, shared her experience of finding a judicial evasion to obtain an abortion when she was 16 years old.
During her own testimony on Tuesday and Wednesday, Barrett refused to comment on controversial legal issues that may come before the Supreme Court, including health care, abortion and other areas – an approach other Supreme Court candidates have taken before her.
The Democrats urged Barrett how closely their jurisprudence would follow that of their mentor, the late Judge Antonin Scalia, as Barrett has stated that they share the same legal philosophy. She reiterated that while both believed in the theory of originalism – interpreting the Constitution based on the intentions of the founders – they would not necessarily rule cases in the same way.
“I assure you, I have my own thoughts. Everything he said is not necessarily what I would agree with or what I would do if I were Justice Barrett,” Barrett said of Scalia.