Amy Coney Barrett: Trump Supreme Court nominee faces questions

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U.S. Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett faces criticism on the second day of her Senate confirmation hearing by Democrats who oppose her nomination.

You will likely see them as a threat to the health reforms passed under former President Barack Obama.

The Conservative judge said Monday she was “honored” to be President Donald Trump’s election to the Supreme Court.

Republicans are trying to approve their nomination before the presidential election in three weeks.

Their confirmation would give the nine-member court a conservative majority of 6 to 3 and alter the court’s ideological balance for possibly decades.

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

She is the proposed replacement for Liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who passed away last month at the age of 87.

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Republicans have a slim majority in the U.S. Senate, the body that approves Supreme Court justices, making Judge Barrett’s appointment very likely.

Democrats have criticized the hasty process as “ruthless” and “sham” amid a coronavirus pandemic that killed 215,000 people in the US.

What can you expect for Tuesday’s hearing?

Judge Barrett will face the first of two days of face-to-face questioning of Senators on the deeply divided Senate Judiciary Committee.

It follows the first day of the hearings on Monday, where she explained her legal philosophy and qualifications for the lifelong position in the American Supreme Court.

Democratic senators are likely to question the conservative views and decisions she made as a judge on the Seventh Circle Court of Appeals. Much of her notes contradicted the philosophy of the late Justice Ginsburg.

Healthcare is high on the agenda amid the possibility that it could be a decisive voice in crushing reforms enacted by former President Obama and providing health insurance to millions of Americans.

The top Democrat on the committee, Senator Dianne Feinstein, argued Monday that “Americans will lose the benefits of the ACA [Affordable Care Act] provides “if Judge Barrett is at the helm when he hears a public health insurance case next month.

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“It is more than ironic that this government, which has not responded to this pandemic, is rushing through a judge they believe will vote to abolish health protection,” said Democratic Senator Chris Coons.

Judge Barrett has in the past criticized a 2012 Supreme Court ruling that upheld the ACA.

The Republicans on the committee praised Judge Barrett and defended the legitimacy of the judge’s confirmation. Lindsay Graham, chairwoman of the Republican Committee, said she was “in a category of excellence the country should be proud of”.

The four-day hearings are the critical step before a full Senate vote on the nomination.

What did Judge Barrett say on Monday?

“I believe Americans of all backgrounds deserve an independent Supreme Court that interprets our constitution and laws as they are written,” the 48-year-old lawyer, who is deeply religious and has conservative views on abortion, told senators on Monday.

Judge Barrett argued that elected politicians make “policy decisions and value judgments”, not Supreme Court judges.

“In each 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 said.

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

What is the verification process?

After the hearings have ended, any committee member can request an additional week before the panel’s formal vote whether the nomination should be submitted to the full Senate for confirmation. It is not clear whether members will be able to vote remotely.

If she passes the committee stage, the entire Senate will vote to approve or disapprove Judge Barrett’s nomination.

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

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

Aside from one surprise, the Democrats seem to have few options of preventing them from sliding through the Senate to the Supreme Court bench.

Fight for the Supreme Court

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