Amy Coney Barrett Begins Confirmation Hearings

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Anthony Abrahantes

If confirmed, Amy Coney Barrett would shift the balance of the Supreme Court’s ideology to the right, making the Court majority Conservative.

Maria Odio, Staff Writer

Over the past few days, Judge Amy Coney Barrett has attended multiple Supreme Court confirmation hearings held in response to her nomination. Confirmation hearings are held by the members of the Senate to see if a candidate is suitable for the court.

As President Donald Trump mentioned in this year’s Presidential Debate, it is the president’s right to appoint government officers, however, nominations have to be authorized by the Senate first. This hearing lasted a total of four days and seems to be advancing in favor of the Republican Party.

Oct. 11 First Confirmation Hearing

On the opening night of the hearing, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham honored Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a justice who recently passed away. Ginsburg’s seat is the vacant spot of which President Trump nominated Barrett. Since the seat of a Supreme Court Justice is a lifelong position, it is important to hold these hearings because they allow the Democratic Party and the Republican Party to see what the candidate knows about the law.

Usually, in confirmation hearings, the nominee answers questions regarding their philosophies of the law or economic issues. However, in this hearing, the members of the committee, both Democrats and Republicans, shared their opening statements first. Many viewers thought that their speeches seemed more like accusations towards the public. Republicans wanted to hold this confirmation weeks before the election, while many Democrats tried to delay it to prevent the confirmation. The Republican Party held the majority vote, therefore the hearing could not be pushed back.

Once the questions began, Obamacare and Barrett’s faith became some of the most prominent topics that were discussed in these hearings. Senator Josh Hawley criticized the Democratic Party for using Barrett’s Catholic beliefs against her. Joe Biden, a candidate for the position of the 46th President of the United States agreed that throughout the hearings, Barrett’s faith should not be questioned.

Oct. 12 Second Confirmation Hearing

On the second day of the hearings, the Senate approached questions regarding healthcare and abortion rights. This hearing lasted for almost 12 hours of questioning. Nominee Barrett was questioned about a mock case regarding Obamacare she participated in while attending William and Mary Law School. Barrett said that the mock case did not reveal any of her views on the Affordable Care Act nor did it expose her opinions of Obamacare. Senator Cory Booker inquired as to her views on race and “implicit bias.” Barrett responded that there is indeed “implicit bias” amongst the United States judicial system. Senator Booker also asked about White supremacy and transfer of power, to which Barrett responded, stating that she believes a peaceful transfer of power is essential for the economy and that she disapproves of white supremacy.

“Amy Coney Barrett is very conservative. I think Trump wanted her on the court to tip the scales a bit because the election is happening. Even if he loses the presidency, he wants to keep the Republican Party and himself in a spot of power,” freshman Elijah Cima said.

Oct. 13 Third Confirmation Hearing

Chairman Lindsey Graham, a Republican representative of South Carolina, admitted that he is proud of Amy Barrett as, in his view, she has stayed true to her word and beliefs. Many members of the Republican Party acknowledge Amy Barrett’s beliefs and even commend her for it, as many have noted her strong Catholic beliefs. The third hearing mostly focused on Obamacare once again.

Senator Dianne Feinstein questioned Barrett on her thoughts about “the severability doctrine” which she answered with the definition of a severability; a way to not destroy everything that is being built. Severability doctrine is used when part of the agreement is found unconstitutional, however, the rest of the agreement must still be applied. Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy asked if President Trump could pardon himself, a question which Barrett refused to answer. Sen. Leahy also mentioned that Barrett never talked about the Affordable Care Act, however, had criticized the court for wanting to keep sections of the Act.

Oct.14 Fourth Confirmation Hearing

In the last hearing, Democratic Party members attempted to push back the Senate Judiciary Committee vote, but their efforts failed. Chairman Graham set the date of Oct. 22 for the committee to vote after the “full Senate” will vote. Many Democrats believed that the Republicans were rushing through the hearing in order to finish them before the presidential elections. This would allow them to avoid any risks of Joe Biden potentially winning and nominating a new judge whose views would not align with their goals.

Unlike the previous hearings, witnesses were presented before the court to give testimonies in opposition and in support of Barrett. Those against used their personal experience with abortion and the Affordable Care Act to present their own views. The testimonies of those in favor of the nominee discussed Barrett’s personality and nature.

“I disagree strongly with Amy Coney Barrett’s positions. From what I have seen, I don’t think she is fit for the job she was nominated for. She does not have much court experience in her resume, and she has proven to be not as knowledgeable as she should be,” sophomore Beckett Schuchts.

This was the first time in history in which a candidate has been Pro-life and has been open about it, which Chairman Graham pointed out. This is also President Trump’s third nominee after Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court in his four-year term. Whether or not Amy Coney Barrett is nominated will be revealed once the Senate makes its final decisions. If she joins the Supreme Court, Barrett will gain immense judicial influence and may define legal precedents that will shape the country for years to come.

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