Amy Coney Barrett: Senate opens hearing into Trump Supreme Court pick

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Media signatureCheck out the live coverage as the Amy Coney Barrett confirmation hearing begins

Amy Coney Barrett, US President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, will hold a fiery confirmation hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee over the next four days.

The 48-year-old conservative lawyer has vowed to judge legal cases impartially.

Judge Barrett’s nomination shortly before the November 3rd presidential election sparked a political battle between Republicans and rival Democrats.

Judge Barrett’s approval would cement a conservative majority in the Supreme Court.

Conservative judges would then hold a 6-3 majority and shift their ideological balance for possibly decades.

President Trump chose Judge Barrett to replace Liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died last month at the age of 87.

The Republicans, who currently have a slim majority in the U.S. Senate, the body that appoints Supreme Court justices, are now trying to finalize the process before Trump runs against Democratic rival Joe Biden in the election.

Who Is Amy Coney Barrett?

  • Preferred by socially conservatives based on records on issues such as abortion and gay marriage
  • a devout Catholic, but says her beliefs do not affect her view of law
  • is an originalist, which means interpreting the U.S. Constitution as the authors intended without moving with the times
  • lives in Indiana, has seven children, including two adopted from Haiti

Continue reading: Who is Trump’s Supreme Court election?

The court’s nine judges serve life-long appointments, and their decisions can affect public order in everything from gun and voting rights to abortion and campaign finance.

Democrats fear that Judge Barrett’s successful nomination would favor Republicans in politically sensitive cases that reach the Supreme Court.

In his opening address at the beginning of the hearing, Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham described Ms. Barrett as “in a category of excellence the country should be proud of”.

What will Judge Barrett say in her opening speeches?

In an interview for the job, at the confirmation hearing, Judge Barrett gives the opportunity to explain her legal philosophy and qualifications for the lifelong position.

In prepared remarks released ahead of Monday’s session, Judge Barrett thanked President Trump for “entrusting me with this deep responsibility,” which she describes as an “honor of her life.”

In the speech, Judge Barrett will discuss the importance of her family and how her parents prepared her for a “Life of Service, Principle, Faith and Love.”

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Media signatureAmy Coney Barrett: “I will face the challenge with humility and courage.”

Judge Barrett will pay tribute to the judges she has worked with, including former Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

Justice Scalia’s reasoning “shaped me,” Judge Barrett will say. “His legal philosophy was straightforward: a judge has to apply the law as it was written, not as the judge wants it to be.”

Judge Barrett will say that she “decided to keep the same perspective” throughout her legal career.

It is up to the elected politicians to make “policy decisions and value judgments,” not the Supreme Court justices, Judge Barrett will say.

“In any case, I have carefully examined the arguments put forward by the parties, discussed the issues with my colleagues in court and done my best to achieve the result required by law, regardless of my own preferences,” she will say.

“When I write a case-resolution opinion, I read every word from the perspective of the losing party. I wonder how I would see the decision if one of my children were the party I’m against.”

What about the coronavirus concerns?

The hearing room has been prepared in consultation with health officials to ensure social distancing rules are followed.

Two Republican senators on the committee, Mike Lee and Thom Tillis, recently ran positive tests and did not say how to participate in the trial.

  • The White House hosted the Covid Superspreader event.

Meanwhile, Senator Kamala Harris, the Democratic vice-presidential candidate who is also on the panel, has announced that she will attend remotely.

What is the verification process?

After the hearing is over, any committee member can request an additional week before the formal vote. It is not clear whether members will be able to vote remotely.

After that, the Senate – the upper chamber of the US Congress – will vote to approve or reject Judge Barrett’s nomination.

Republicans already appear to have the 51 votes required to endorse Judge Barrett.

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Judge Barrett worked for the late Judge Antonin Scalia

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has vowed to hold a confirmatory vote before the presidential election.

Aside from one surprise, the Democrats appear to have few procedural options to keep them from sliding through the Senate to the Supreme Court bench.

Conservatives see an opportunity to turn the legal tide

The changing ideological equilibrium of the court will affect every aspect of American life and the United States – perhaps nowhere else but Texas.

While the political controversy over Trump’s appointment is taking place in Washington DC, some of the biggest legal battles to hit the Supreme Court in recent years have come from Texas.

The state, which has made a habit of pushing the boundaries of conservative law and causes, has not always won these high profile cases. On anti-sodomy law, the right to vote, the death penalty, and most recently abortion, it has often found itself at the short end of the legal process, often through tight 5-to-4 decisions.

However, with Justice Ginsburg disappearing and Judge Barrett ready to take his seat, Texas Conservatives are optimistic that the legal tide may turn.

Continue reading: Anthony’s Complete Analysis of the Battle of the Supreme Court

Why is Judge Barrett’s nomination so controversial?

Since Ginsburg’s death of cancer on Sept. 18, Republican senators have been charged with hypocrisy for promoting a Supreme Court nomination during an election year.

In 2016, McConnell refused to hold hearings for Merrick Garland, Democratic President Barack Obama’s candidate for the court.

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Media signature2016 vs 2020: What Republicans Said About Electing a Supreme Court in an Election Year

The nomination, which came 237 days before the election, was successfully blocked as Republicans held the Senate, arguing that the decision should be made outside of an election year.

This time, Mr. McConnell praised Judge Barrett’s nomination and said the President “couldn’t have made a better decision”.

Democrats say Republicans should stand by their former position and let the voters decide. Republicans counter that the Democrats have also changed their stance since 2016.

Mr Biden has referred to Mr Trump’s efforts to appoint a judiciary as an “abuse of power”.

He has so far refused to comment on whether the Democrats would try to add seats – called “court wrapping” – to the Supreme Court if he won the presidential election.

Democrats have said that if Judge Barrett is appointed to the Supreme Court, she should not participate in cases involving the outcome of the presidential election and an impending challenge to a health bill called Obamacare.

They argue that it would be unethical for her to pass judgment in such cases as she was nominated by President Trump during an election campaign.

But Republican leaders have declined requests to postpone the hearing.

Fight for the Supreme Court

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