If you watched any of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on the confirmation of the U.S. Supreme Court Nominee, you heard two very different views of Judge Amy Coney Barrett.
Either Judge Barrett is President Trump’s puppet, a reincarnated version of the late Antonin Scalia who will unilaterally criminalize abortion nationwide, tear down the Affordable Care Act with its pre-existing conditions, and impose her religion on every American – Or, she is an accomplished Constitutional scholar, committed to her Catholic faith and her pro-life convictions personally, yet will judge laws based on the facts of the individual cases and their validity based on the U.S. Constitution. Judge Barrett is committed to interpreting the law, not making the law from the bench.
Four Key Takeaways
Throughout the confirmation hearings, senators lamented Judge Barrett’s pro-life convictions, pressing her to affirm Roe v Wade as a “super precedent,” never to be overturned. Barrett invoked Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s “rule” refusing to comment on cases that might come before her as a Supreme Court Justice. Although, she did say that “super-precedent” can refer to “cases that are so well settled that no political actors and no people seriously push for their overruling, and I’m answering a lot of questions about Roe, which I think indicates that Roe doesn’t fall in that category.”
A steady message coming from a number of senators was the threat that Judge Barrett is a shill for President Trump, hand-picked to destroy the Affordable Care Act. Judge Barrett methodically answered their questions without commenting on the case now before the U.S. Supreme Court. She did directly deny any discussion of the ACA with President Trump or anyone else regarding her nomination, “You’re suggesting that I have animus [toward the ACA] or that I cut a deal with the president, and I was very clear yesterday that that hasn’t happened.”
Perhaps the most critical takeaway from the hearings was Judge Barrett’s commitment to interpreting the law, not making law. She is a strict originalist, like Justice Antonin Scalia, for whom she clerked. She holds law accountable to the word and original meaning of the Constitution. In doing so, some senators accused her of simply filling Scalia’s shoes on controversial issues of the day. To which she replied, “I hope that you aren’t suggesting that I don’t have my own mind, or that I couldn’t think independently…I assure you, I have my own mind.”
It is clear, some senators see the Supreme Court and other courts as an extension of the legislative branch; a useful tool in pushing through policy they cannot get passed through Congress. Judge Barrett made it clear she would not be party to that, saying, “The policy decisions and value judgments of government must be made by the political branches elected by and accountable to the people. The people should not expect courts to do so, and courts should not try.”
Senators attacked Judge Barrett’s Catholic faith, insinuating it disqualifies her from the bench. I spoke with Congressman Andy Biggs about that, Barrett’s qualifications, and the effort to keep her off the bench. Listen here.
While you’ve heard much about the upcoming Court hearing on the Affordable Care Act, you haven’t heard about a very important religious freedom case, Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, to be heard by the Court on November 4. Fulton likely will determine whether faith-based foster care and adoption agencies are able to follow their faith’s tenets when providing foster care and adoption services. Center for Arizona Policy took part in an amicus brief in this case. Read it here. Barrett’s confirmation may be critical to the Fulton outcome and presents another reason why nine justices needed to be seated as opposed to only eight.
After a failed motion to block the confirmation, the Senate Judiciary Committee set the vote on Judge Barrett’s confirmation next Thursday, October 22nd. The full Senate is scheduled to vote October 26th.
Contact Arizona’s two U.S. Senators here and urge them to confirm Judge Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court.
- Hear CAP’s Chris St. John discuss Props 207 and 208 from a biblical worldview on Redemption Gateway’s For Jesus podcast.
- Watch our videos, my interview, and CAP’s essay on Prop 207 at The Prickly Pear.
- Listen or read Albert Mohler’s take on the confirmation hearings and the noteworthy questions from one U.S. Senator.