Barrett says her past critiques of abortion decisions, Obamacare do not report how she would vote now

Justice Amy Coney Barrett spent most of day two of her Supreme Court confirmation hearing pushing back Democrats’ predictions that she would provide the final vote needed to strike down the affordable care law and severely curtail rights abortion, but struggled to reconcile assurances that she had an open mind with her past writings that demonstrated strong opinions.

“I stand before the committee today to say that I have the integrity to act according to my oath and to apply the law,” she told members of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday.

Throughout the day, Barrett – like most other Supreme Court candidates have done – has consistently declined to comment on his views on issues that may come before the court. She insisted that she had “no agenda” other than upholding the rule of law.

But unlike most other recent candidates for the High Court, Barrett has an exceptionally long audience record writings and letters on hot topics, such as abortion. And Democrats urged her to explain them.

As an appeals court judge in 2018, she joined a dissent for an Indiana law that would have prohibited abortions based on disability or deformity.

While a law professor at Notre Dame in 2013, Barrett signed a public letter criticizing the landmark Roe abortion decision against Wade and calling for “the unborn child to be protected by law.” In 2006, she signed a commercial that called for “an end to Roe’s barbaric legacy against Wade”.

Barrett said she signed the “leaving the church” announcement as a private citizen and that it was “consistent” with the church’s views and a “pro-life” point of view. “. While she said she had “personal feelings about abortion,” she told Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, chair of the committee, that she would put her Catholic beliefs aside on the bench.

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) Has repeatedly urged Barrett for his opinion on the 1973 Roe case and the 1992 decision in Planned Parenthood v Casey. Both cases are the basis of Americans’ right to access abortion.

“It would actually be a mistake – a violation of the canons – for me to do this as a sitting judge,” Barrett said. “So if I express a point of view on a precedent in one way or another, whether I say I love it or hate it, it signals to litigants that I might lean in a way. or another on an ongoing matter. “

In response to questions from Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Barrett admitted that she did not consider Roe a “super precedent,” a scholarly term used to describe a Supreme Court ruling that is so widely accepted. that she does not risk being overthrown.

Barrett said that while she viewed Brown’s anti-discrimination decision against Topeka’s Board of Education as a super precedent, she would not put Roe in this category because the public is divided on the issue and calls to quash the abortion decision continue. .

“I answer a lot of questions about Roe, which I think indicates that Roe doesn’t fit into that category,” Barrett said.

As the Tories are on the cusp of securing a rare 6-3 majority in the nation’s highest court, Democrats have also repeatedly warned that she will vote to repeal the 2010 healthcare law if she does. was seated in time to hear arguments in a case to go to court. a week after the elections.

Democratic senators have peppered her with questions about a 2017 essay in which she criticized Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.’s 2012 opinion that upheld the Affordable Care Act. In that article, she said Roberts had taken “the Affordable Care Act beyond its plausible meaning to save the law.”

But she said on Tuesday the criticism was irrelevant to the ongoing dispute because it involved different questions of law.

“I assure you that I am not hostile to the ACA. I am not hostile to any law you pass, “she said.

The current Supreme Court case is Republicans’ third attempt to strike down the 2010 healthcare law by the courts. They argue that because Congress in 2017 effectively ended the “individual mandate” that required all Americans to have health insurance, the entire law should fall.

Barrett said the specific issue in this case is severability, or whether the rest of the law is in effect if the individual tenure provision is removed.

She admitted that during a pleading exercise in which she participated last month, she “ruled” that the rest of the health care law could be maintained without the provision. “I voted to say that [the mandate] was unconstitutional, but separable, ”she said.

But Barrett warned senators that the ruling did not necessarily reflect her “real views” or how she would rule if appointed to the Supreme Court, as she did not have access to all briefs from the sham process. The mock trial took place at William & Mary Law School before the death of Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg, of whom Barrett was later appointed to fill the seat.

Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) said his finding in the mock exercise nonetheless provides an “answer, frankly, to many who raise this specter that you’re going to take the whole Affordable Care Act away from you. everyone because of this very narrow case.

Barrett would also not pledge to recuse himself if disputes arose as a result of the election. President Trump has said the Senate must act quickly to confirm her choice of the Supreme Court by November 3 because it could decide the outcome of a contested election in 2020. As a result, several Democrats have demanded that she recuse herself. . Barrett said she would assess what to do if the situation arose.

“I certainly hope that everyone on this committee will have more confidence in my integrity than thinking that I would allow myself to be used as a pawn in deciding this election for the American people,” Barrett said.

Barrett said she made no commitment to anyone on how she would vote on an election dispute, the Affordable Care Act or any other case.

“I made no commitment to anyone – not in this Senate, not in the White House – on how I would decide in any case,” she said.

On a personal level, Barrett spoke of her frustration with the way she was portrayed in the media, saying she avoided covering her nomination for her sanity.

“You know you can’t get away from it all,” she said. “And I’m aware of a lot of cartoons going around.”

Numerous news outlets have examined Barrett’s conservative Catholic faith and his membership in a controversial charismatic Christian group that former members and liberal critics have likened to a cult. The group became a powder keg in the candidacy due to its teaching that men are the head of the household, although this was not addressed during the hearing.

“We knew our faith would be caricatured; we knew our family would be attacked, ”she said. “So we had to decide if these difficulties were worth it, because what sane person would go through this if there was no advantage on the other side.”

One of the most memorable moments of the hearing came when Barrett was asked if she had watched the video showing the death of George Floyd, a handcuffed black man who died on May 25 after a white police officer told him stuck one knee in the neck for several minutes.

“As you can imagine, given that I have two black children, it was very, very personal to my family,” Barrett said.

Barrett said her 16-year-old daughter, Vivian, whom she adopted in Haiti, had suffered death harshly because she realized that she and her brother, John Peter, who was also adopted in Haiti, could be exposed to such brutality. “It was very difficult for her and we cried together in my room,” Barrett said.

“I had to explain part of that to them,” she added. “I mean, my kids at this point in their lives have had the benefit of growing up in a cocoon where they haven’t yet experienced hatred or violence… It’s hard for us, as it is for Americans in everything. the country. “

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.

About Natalee Broderick

Natalee Broderick

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