Thank You Captain Obvi… This Is Not Our First Rodeo….
Government policy must be set by Congress and not the courts, Amy Coney Barrett told a deeply divided Senate judiciary committee as the first day of her confirmation hearings on Monday set in motion a momentous partisan battle, three weeks before the presidential election.
Even before the supreme court nominee began speaking, Democrats argued that the process that got her there – Senate Republicans rushing to confirm her even as the president who nominated her appeared to be in the act of losing an election, perhaps badly – was an act of hypocrisy that would damage the legitimacy of the court.
“I believe Americans of all backgrounds deserve an independent supreme court that interprets our constitution and laws as they are written,” Barrett said in her opening statement. “And I believe I can serve my country by playing that role.”
After listening silently for much of the day’s proceedings, Barrett outlined her judicial philosophy, introduced her family of nine, most of whom were seated behind her, and paid tribute to Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the justice she was nominated to replace.
Barrett, a conservative Christian who has criticized the high court’s decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act (ACA), who has publicly opposed reproductive rights and who was a trustee at a school whose handbook included a stated opposition to same-sex marriage, is seen on the left as part of a power play by Donald Trump and Republicans to cement a conservative majority on the court for a generation.
“Courts have a vital responsibility to the rule of rule of law, which is critical to a free society,” the judge said in a prepared statement, after removing her black face mask. “But courts are not designed to solve every problem or right every wrong in our public life.”
Barring any dramatic revelations or procedural derailments, Republicans are poised to confirm Barrett to a lifetime appointment on the court before the November election.
With the crack of a gavel, Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina and chairman of the committee, opened the four-day proceedings by calling Barrett a judge “the country should be proud of” and defending Republicans decision to hold the nomination hearing amid a pandemic and so close to a presidential election.
“This is probably not about persuading each other unless something really dramatic happens,” Graham acknowledged. “All Republicans will vote yes and all Democrats will vote no.”
Setting the stage for what was to come, he added: “This is going to be a long, contentious week.”