Returning to healthcare and also the fate of the Affordable Care Act on Tuesday, Democrats grilled Barrett on how she would rule in the upcoming Affordable Care Act case, California v. Texas.
“I am not hostile to the ACA, I am not hostile to some statute you have,” Barrett told Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., who asked her about her criticisms of the Supreme Court’s majority remarks on several cases related to the healthcare law.
“I employ the legislation, follow the legislation, you make the coverage,” she said.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., displayed President Donald Trump’s 2015 tweet vowing his judicial appointees would”do the right thing” in cases on President Barack Obama’s trademark healthcare law, while questioning Barrett about how she would handle the subject.
“I can not really talk to what the president had said on Twitter,” Barrett told Klobuchar. “No one has elicited any commitment in the situation or brought up that commitment in the case.
Democrats also repeatedly pressed Barrett on Roe v. Wade, and if she believes the landmark case to be settled law.
Asked by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., if she agreed with her mentor, the late Justice Antonin Scalia, that Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided, Barrett would not reveal her hand.
“If I say a view about the precedent one way or another, whether I say I love it or hate itsignals to litigants I might tilt one way or the other in a pending case,” she explained, while also asserting she chart her own course on the maximum court, despite her respect for Scalia and his originalist approach to the Constitution.
Barrett also told Klobuchar she didn’t look at the decision that the so-called”super-precedent” which couldn’t be overruled, unlike Brown v. Board of Education.
“I’m answering a lot of questions about Roe v. Wade, which I believe indicates Roe v. Wade does not fall in that category,” she said.
Barrett says she could set aside her religion on the seat
Barrett, mostly in response to Republicans’ questions about her religion and its influence on her work, told the committee that her”private, moral spiritual views” won’t affect her judicial decision.
“Could you set aside whatever Catholic beliefs you have regarding any problem before you?” , asked.
“I’ve done that in my own time on the 7th Circuit. If I live there I will continue to do that,” Barrett said. “If I am confirmed to the Supreme Court, I’ll do that still.”
She was contested a 2006 newspaper advertisement she signed up that called for overturning the”ancestral heritage” of Roe v. Wade.
“I signed that almost 15 decades ago in my personal capacity still as a private citizen, and now I am a public official,” Barrett told Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo.
“I signed it on the way from church,” she informed Leahy.
She sought to make a distinction between her personal feelings and her job on the bench, when asked by Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., about systemic racism and the passing of George Floyd while in police custody.
Barrett said she had watched the video showing a Minneapolis police officer pressing his knee into Floyd’s throat with her 17-year-old daughter Vivian, that is Black and was adopted from Haiti, which they”wept together,” and also have had a”difficult” ongoing conversation about police brutality and racism.
Inspired by Durbin if she viewpoints racism in America as a systemic problem, Barrett said it is”entirely uncontroversial that racism persists” in America, but she declined to opine on the”policy inquiries” of how to address it the issue.
Barrett would not commit to recusal from election cases
Sen. Pat Leahy, D-Vt., first pressed Barrett on whether she’d recuse herself from election-related cases — citing Trump’s comments in September that he wanted the court to have a complete complement of judges for any suits stemming from the general election.
Leahy asked Barrett why she could not recuse herself — and pointed to the 2016 conclusion from Michigan Supreme Court Judge Joan Larsen to recuse herself from a recount situation that year because Trump had placed her on his Supreme Court brief list.
Larsen made her choice”once it was presented to her in the context of an actual case where she needed to weigh her duties,” Barrett explained. “If introduced to me I’d, like Judge Larson, use that statute.”
“I certainly hope that members of the committee have more confidence in my integrity than to believe I would allow myself to be used as a pawn to decide this election to the American people,” she said.
Barrett dodges questions regarding Trump’s election remarks
Under questioning from Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., Barrett declined to say whether the president gets the ability to postpone the general election.
But the answer was a notable one, given that the Constitution does not provide any power to the president to alter the date of the general election: some change would have to be made via an act of Congress.
“If this question ever came before me, I would have to hear arguments from the litigants and read briefs and talk my law clerks, and talk to my coworkers and undergo the comment writing process,” she said. “If I give off-the-cuff answers, then I would be basically an authorized pundit. I don’t believe we want judges to be lawful pundits.”
While Trump has suggested delaying the election, lawmakers from both parties have resisted his remarks and refused the chance of doing this.
Barrett was also contested on voter suppression by Klobuchar, and declined to say whether she believed voter intimidation at polling locations is prohibited under national law, calling it a”hypothetical situation”
“I can not apply the law to a hypothetical set of facts,” she said. “I can only decide cases as they come to me litigated by parties on the full listing after fully engaging precedent, speaking to colleagues, writing remarks. I can’t answer questions like that.”
Barrett, in response to questions from Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., also stated she could not comment on if it’s the president had the right to pardon himself, saying that the issue would come before the court.
“In keeping with my obligation not to give clues, previews or forecasts of how I would resolve the situation, that is not one I can reply,” she said.
Sen. Mitt Romney on Tuesday condemned”vile” political rhetoric from Trump and liberal pundit Keith Olbermann ahead of the election.
The president chose to Twitter to insult Democrats on the committee, warn about a”rigged” election and Dr. Anthony Fauci’s botched first pitch at the Washington Nationals’ first match of the season in July.
Yet the tone inside the nomination hearing roughly 10 hours Tuesday was polite for contemporary standards in Washington, with few fireworks as well as fewer instances of senators and the nominee speaking over each other. It was a noted contrast from the contentious nomination hearings for Justice Brett Kavanaugh, whose nomination was rocked by claims of sexual assault that arose in the center of the confirmation fight.
“Would you like to say something? I really don’t want to cut you off,” Durbin said.
“No, that’s okay,” said Judge Barrett.
Afterwards when pressing Barrett on a rape situation, Sen. Richard Blumenthal interjected to say”I apologize for interrupting you, pressed for a while. Respectfully, I would like to share another healthcare story with you.”
Barrett apologizes for using word’sexual preference’
Barrett, who coolly fielded questions from senators for hours with no prepared notes before her, appeared to admit that a misstep Tuesday when she apologized for using the term”sexual preference,” a phrase rejected by the LGBTQ community and advocates who say it suggests that gender identity or sexual orientation is an option.
“In saying that I couldn’t opine on whether that has been decided or not I wasn’t indicating disagreement with it,” she said of Obergefell v. Hodges, the landmark 2015 case understanding same-sex marriage, at a clarification of her remarks prompted by Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa.
“I certainly didn’t mean, and might never mean to use a term that would cause any offense in the LGBTQ community. When I did, I greatly apologize for this.”