Supreme Court confirmation hearing begins with focus on Amy Coney Barrett’s faith, Affordable Care Act

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U.S. Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett is sworn in during her confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington , D.C., U.S., October 12, 2020. Photo by Erin Schaff/Pool via REUTERS

Supreme Court Nominee Amy Coney Barrett delivered her opening statement today during her confirmation hearing – the first of at least four days she’ll be questioned by the Senate.

Barrett told the Senate Judiciary Committee both the style and content of rulings by her mentor, the late Justice Antonin Scalia, shaped her jurisprudence.

“His judicial philosophy was straightforward: A judge must apply the law as it is written, not as she wishes it were,” Barrett said. “Sometimes that approach meant reaching results that he did not like, but as he put it in one of his best-known opinions, that is what it means to say that we have a government of laws and not of men.”

Republicans are rushing to seat Barrett before the election, which is just three weeks away. Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) – who’s in a tight reelection fight himself – kicked things off by saying the outcome of these hearings is already determined.

“This is probably not about persuading each other unless something really dramatic happens,” Graham said. “All Republicans will vote ‘yes’ and all Democrats will vote ‘no’.”

Meanwhile – Democrats sought to highlight Barrett’s writings that oppose the Affordable Care Act and abortion rights.

“Your nomination is about the Republican goal of repealing the Affordable Care Act, the Obamacare they seem to detest so much,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.). “Protections for people with pre-existing conditions, tax credits that make health insurance more affordable, bans of charging women more, simply because they are women.”

Barrett is President Trump’s third Supreme Court nominee, and if confirmed, she’s expected to cement a six-justice conservative majority that would move the court even further right than it already is.

Credits

Guest:
Jessica Levinson - Professor, LMU's Loyola Law School in Los Angeles - @LevinsonJessica

Host:
Madeleine Brand

Producers:
Sarah Sweeney, Michell Eloy, Amy Ta, Rosalie Atkinson, Brian Hardzinski, Angie Perrin, Rebecca Mooney