Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett speaks during the second day of her Senate Judiciary committee confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill.
Sen. Chris Coons says the rush to confirm Trump's SCOTUS nominee 'constitutes court-packing'
  • Democratic Delaware Senator Chris Coons said the push to confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett as Supreme court Justice "constitutes court-packing" in an interview with Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday.
  • He also said Barrett's views on issues like the Affordable Care Act and Roe v. Wade were "too extreme to qualify her to serve on this court."
  • Democratic and Republican lawmakers have clashed over the timeline of Barrett's confirmation hearings after two Republican senators on the Senate Judiciary Committee tested positive for coronavirus.

Amy Klobuchar rips hearings for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett as a 'sham' and urges Americans to call their senators
  • Sen. Amy Klobuchar called the Senate's Supreme Court nomination hearings a "sham" and urged Americans to call their senators and voice their opposition during her opening statement on Monday.
  • Klobuchar said Judge Amy Coney Barrett will be quickly confirmed along partisan lines unless voters protest President Donald Trump's third Supreme Court nominee by petitioning their representatives.
  • This isn't Donald Trump's country, it is yours," Klobuchar said. "This shouldn't be Donald Trump's judge, it should be yours."

Sen. Mike Lee spoke without a mask at Amy Coney Barrett's Supreme Court hearing less than 2 weeks after testing positive for the coronavirus
  • Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah drew suspicion and ire on Monday when he spoke maskless at the first Senate Judiciary Committee hearing for President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett.
  • Lee tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday, October 2, with his case being one of many linked to an apparent superspreader event at the White House Rose Garden for Barrett about a week earlier.
  • The senator would not tell reporters if he tested negative for the virus before showing up to the hearing room, but he did tweet a letter from his doctor that "cleared" him for an in-person cameo.
  • "Senator Lee's enthusiasm for the dormant commerce clause convinces me you've made a full recovery," Sen. Lindsey Graham said after his Republican colleague spoke without a mask.

Amy Coney Barrett sidestepped Kamala Harris' question on whether she was aware Trump wanted to nominate a Supreme Court justice who would strike down Obamacare
  • The Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett sidestepped a question from Sen. Kamala Harris on Tuesday about whether she knew President Donald Trump was seeking to nominate a justice who would strike down the Affordable Care Act.
  • "I don't recall seeing or hearing those statements," Barrett said.
  • Trump had said he wanted a justice who would strike down the landmark healthcare law, also known as Obamacare.

Amy Coney Barrett won't say whether she thinks Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided as her mentor Scalia argued
  • Amy Coney Barrett during her confirmation hearing on Tuesday wouldn't give a clear answer on whether she believes Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided.
  • Barrett clerked for the late Justice Antonin Scalia, who was heavily critical of the landmark decision that legalized abortion nationwide.
  • "I can't express views on cases or pre-commit," Barrett said.
Feinstein told the Supreme Court nominee that it was "distressing not to get a straight answer."

Amy Coney Barrett won't say if presidents should commit to a peaceful transfer of power and if they can pardon themselves
  • Amy Coney Barrett, President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee, declined to say whether all presidents should commit to a peaceful transfer of power during her confirmation hearing on Tuesday.
  • Barrett also would not comment on whether a president can pardon themself for crimes against the US.
  • Trump has refused to commit to a peaceful transition if he loses the election, and in the past said he has the "absolute right" to pardon himself.
  • "To the extent that this is a political controversy right now, as a judge I want to stay out of it, and I don't want to express a view," Barrett told Democratic Sen. Cory Booker.

Amy Coney Barrett avoided answering questions from senators by citing the 'Ginsburg rule,' but legal scholars say it's not a valid excuse
  • Amy Coney Barrett cited the so-called "Ginsburg rule" to justify her evasiveness on certain questions during her Senate confirmation hearing on Tuesday.
  • Barrett said she could offer "no hints, no previews, no forecasts," drawing from Ginsburg's words during her confirmation hearings in 1993.
  • But legal scholars say the "Ginsburg rule" is a misnomer, given the late Supreme Court justice directly answered a number of questions on hotbed topics during her confirmation hearings 27 years ago.

The 7 biggest takeaways from day 2 of Amy Coney Barrett's confirmation hearing
  • The second day of Judge Amy Coney Barrett's confirmation hearing wrapped up on Tuesday night.
  • The contentious hearing was split between Republicans who praised Barrett's judicial philosophy and Democrats who voiced concerns that Barrett would slash the Affordable Care Act and overturn key precedents like Roe v. Wade and Obergefell v. Hodges.
  • Barrett also pointedly refused to answer any questions related to President Donald Trump's comments including his plan to contest the election and refusal to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses.
  • Barrett refused to weigh in on how she would rule in cases related to Roe v. Wade
    "The decision whether or not to bear a child is central to a woman's life, to her well-being and dignity. It is a decision she must make for herself. When Government controls that decision for her, she is being treated as less than a fully adult human responsible for her own choices," Ginsburg said. She expressed support for both Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey during the hearings.
  • Barrett refused to say if the president can delay or postpone an election
    Barrett dodged the question, saying, "Well, senator, if that question ever came before me, I would need to hear arguments from the litigants and read briefs and consult with my law clerks and talk to my colleagues and go through the opinion-writing process. If I give off-the-cuff answers, then I would basically be a legal pundit, and I don't think we want judges to be legal pundits. I think we want judges to approach cases thoughtfully and with an open mind."

    The judge's answer raised some eyebrows given that federal law mandates that only Congress has the power to change the date of the general election which takes place on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November.
  • Barrett did not recuse herself from potential cases surrounding a contested election
    Her refusal to commit to recusing herself drew immediate comparisons to previous cases in which judges and justices recused themselves from politically charged cases because of a potential conflict of interest.

    The presidential historian Michael Beschloss pointed out, for instance, that in 1974, Chief Justice William Rehnquist recused himself from the United States v. Nixon case because he served in the Justice Department under President Richard Nixon.

    In another example involving a lower court, US Circuit Judge Gregory Katsas, who was appointed by Trump to the Washington, DC Circuit Court of Appeals, has recused himself from all matters involving the Mueller investigation. Katsas worked in the White House counsel's office before he was confirmed to the appeals court.
  • 'Sexual preference'
    Sen. Mazie Hirono later called Barrett out for her comments, saying, "Sexual preference is an offensive and outdated term. It is used by anti-LGBTQ activists to suggest that sexual orientation is a choice. It is not. Sexual orientation is a key part of a person's identity."
  • Barrett dodged questions about if the president can pardon himself
    Trump has repeatedly suggested that he has the "absolute right" to pardon himself, especially during the special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

    Trump's power to grant pardons is broad, but the question of whether a president can pardon himself has not been tested before.

    Mueller's probe ultimately did not result in charges against Trump, but the president is currently facing at least nine lawsuits that he will have to contend with once he leaves office if he loses in November. Some of the lawsuits were brought in federal court, but many are on a state level, and the pardon power does not apply to state charges.
  • Barrett said she is 'not hostile' to Obamacare but did not say how she'll rule on cases involving the law
    Most notably, she wrote an essay in 2017 lambasting the Supreme Court for upholding the landmark healthcare law and said the majority opinion by Chief Justice John Roberts "pushed the Affordable Care Act beyond its plausible meaning to save the statute."

    On Tuesday, Barrett said that while she did "critique" Roberts' opinion, the case involving the ACA that's currently before the court — California v. Texas — relates to severability, a legal provision that allows the rest of a law to remain in effect even if one part of it is struck down. Barrett's statement was somewhat misleading because the president has made it clear that he wants Obamacare to be gutted in its entirety.
  • Barrett struggled to answer whether the president should commit to a peaceful transfer of power

Amy Coney Barrett's fellow faculty members at the University of Notre Dame called on her to delay her nomination until after the election
"The rushed nature of your nomination process, which you certainly recognize as an exercise in raw power politics, may effectively deprive the American people of a voice in selecting the next Supreme Court justice," the letter said.

"You are not, of course, responsible for the anti-democratic machinations driving your nomination," it added. "Nor are you complicit in the Republican hypocrisy of fast-tracking your nomination weeks before a presidential election when many of the same senators refused to grant Merrick Garland so much as a hearing a full year before the last election. However, you can refuse to be party to such maneuvers."

The group also told Barrett to honor Ginsburg's legacy by not going against her wishes to have her seat remain open until the next president is elected.

Finally, they said her confirmation would further polarize an already divide nation.

"Our politics are consumed by polarization, mistrust, and fevered conspiracy theories. Our country is shaken by the pandemic and economic suffering. There is violence in the streets of American cities. The politics of your nomination, as you surely understand, will further inflame our civic wounds, undermine confidence in the court, and deepen the divide among ordinary citizens," the letter said.

Amy Coney Barrett won't say if climate change is human caused, stating she's not 'competent to opine' on the matter
Judge Amy Coney Barrett reacts during the third day of her Senate confirmation hearing
  • Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett on Wednesday would not say whether climate change is caused by human activities, despite overwhelming agreement among scientists that it is.
  • "I don't think I'm competent to opine on what causes global warming or not," Barrett said.
  • Barrett has avoided offering any opinions on climate change during her confirmation hearings so far, among an array of other issues.

Amy Coney Barrett said she wept with her daughter over George Floyd's death, but won't say whether racism is 'systemic'
  • Amy Coney Barrett during her confirmation hearing on Tuesday said "racism persists" in the US, but wouldn't say if it's "systemic."
  • Barrett said systemic racism is a "policy question.

Top fertility doctors oppose Amy Coney Barrett's nomination, warning it could threaten access to IVF, contraception, and abortion

Leading fertility doctors spoke out against the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court on Monday, calling it "an undoing of Ruth Bader Ginsberg's progress and an enduring step backwards for womens' individual liberty."
  • The editors of Fertility and Sterility published a letter opposing the seating of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.
  • Barrett's belief that life begins at fertilization could lead her to rule against access to contraception and safe fertility treatments.
  • Medical journals have recently been commenting on political issues when they believe there is a threat to public health.
  • Barrett has opposed reproductive rights
    In public record, Barrett has been unequivocally anti-choice.
  • She has taken issue with IVF
    She has supported anti-choice groups that seek to criminalize discarding embryos, which is currently a standard part of the fertility procedure.

By Calling Climate Change ‘Controversial,’ Barrett Created Controversy
Judge Amy Coney Barrett refused to answer numerous questions, but it was her avoidance of acknowledging climate change that particularly resonated.

... But with Senator Kamala Harris of California, the Democratic candidate for vice president, Judge Barrett, the daughter of an oil executive, went further. She described the settled science of climate change as still in dispute, compared to Ms. Harris’s other examples, including whether smoking causes cancer and the coronavirus is infectious.

“Do you believe that climate change is happening and threatening the air we breathe and the water that we drink?” Ms. Harris asked.

Judge Barrett responded, “You asked me uncontroversial questions, like Covid-19 being infectious or if smoking causes cancer” to solicit “an opinion from me on a very contentious matter of public debate,” climate change.

“I will not do that,” Judge Barrett concluded. “I will not express a view on a matter of public policy, especially one that is politically controversial.”

Republicans showed no sign of discomfort with that answer. But her performance raised alarm bells around the world. Greta Thunberg, the young Swedish climate activist, took to Twitter to quip, “To be fair, I don’t have any ‘views on climate change’ either. Just like I don’t have any ‘views’ on gravity, the fact that the earth is round, photosynthesis nor evolution.”

“But,” she continued, “understanding and knowing their existence really makes life in the 21st century so much easier.”

... Judge Barrett’s insistence that she has no opinion on climate change places her within a small and shrinking minority of Americans. Today, 73 percent of Americans say that global warming is happening, and 62 percent of Americans accept that it is human caused. A decade ago, 57 percent accepted that climate. change was happening. Only 20 percent of Americans say they fit the “I don’t know” category.

... Judge Barrett’s family has strong ties to the fossil fuel industry.

Amy Coney Barrett wouldn't tell America where she stands on vital issues, so GOP senators did it for her
  • Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett repeatedly avoided answering questions during her confirmation hearings this week.
  • Barrett leaned on the "Ginsburg rule" in justifying her refusal to address an array of topics, though it's a rule that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg didn't actually follow.
  • Where Barrett didn't answer, Republicans often stepped in and made her position on hot-button topics like abortion abundantly clear.
  • "This is the first time in American history that we've nominated a woman who is unashamedly pro-life," GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham said Wednesday.
  • Republicans were set on confirming Barrett before the hearings even started, placing her in a perfect position to evade questions.