Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Court Confirmation Hearings Start Monday. Here’s What To Expect.
On Monday, the Senate will begin hearings to confirm Amy Coney Barrett, a 48-year-old conservative federal judge and law professor at Notre Dame, to the Supreme Court, where she’ll face intense questioning from supporters and detractors alike in one of the most consequential Supreme Court confirmation processes in recent decades. Here’s what to watch for.
Abortion: Barrett, a devout Catholic who has previously opposed Roe v. Wade, will have to answer tough questions from Democrats on whether she will uphold precedent on issues related to abortion, though both Barrett and the White House have maintained that she will set aside her personal views on the matter.
The Affordable Care Act: Barrett in 2017 was sharply critical of the way Chief Justice Roberts upheld the ACA—a victory for the Democratic party that will be challenged in the Supreme Court this year—and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has already called on Barrett to recuse herself given her “serious conflicts of interest” in cases related to that legislation because of her past statements, CNN reported.
Coronavirus in the Senate: The hearings will take place in person despite the recent spate of positive coronavirus tests in the White House (including from President Trump himself) and among Republican members of Congress, two of whom sit on the Senate Judiciary Committee, though Senators who choose to do so will be able to participate in the proceedings virtually.
The election timeline: Senate Republicans will continue to draw sharp criticism for moving forward with the confirmation process so close to the November election, especially given that the GOP in 2016 blocked President Obama’s nomination of Judge Merrick Garland months, not weeks, ahead of the 2016 presidential contest.
Contested election: Trump has indicated that he wants Barrett confirmed quickly—before November 3—so she can rule on any legal challenges related to the upcoming election, and Democrats have already called on the nominee to recuse herself from those cases if they arise.
Sen. Kamala Harris: With the presidential election just 23 days away, the Democratic vice presidential candidate (who will join the hearings remotely due to Covid-19 concerns) is expected to play a significant role in the proceedings.
In the opening remarks she will deliver to the Senate on Monday morning, Barrett pledged to remain impartial. “The policy decisions and value judgements of government must be made by the political branches elected by and accountable to the People,” she wrote. “The public should not expect courts to do so, and courts should not try.”
Though Sen. Harris will participate in the hearings, she criticized Republican leadership for moving forward with the process amid the ongoing coronavirus outbreak in Washington.
As part of the confirmation process this week, Barrett will answer questions from lawmakers on the Senate Judiciary Committee about her past positions on key issues and her qualifications for the roles. Those hearings will last through Thursday, and then the committee will decide whether to recommend Barrett’s nomination to the full Senate. The Senate will then debate the nomination and hold a vote to confirm Barrett by simple majority.
Amy Coney Barrett Says She Will Be An Impartial Justice In Opening Remarks (Forbes)
What Does It Mean That Amy Coney Barrett Served As A ‘Handmaid’ In A Religious Group? (Forbes)
Amy Coney Barrett Neglected To Disclose Talks To Anti-Abortion Groups (Forbes)
Senate Democrats Ask For ‘Immediate Explanation’ On Amy Coney Barrett’s ‘Troubling’ Paperwork Omissions (Forbes)