This was the week of hearings for the Supreme Court
seat held by Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The judge’s husband
and children were present in the audience each of the
three days. She would be the first Supreme Court justice
to have school age children.
The setting was two rows of senators in an open V shape
with reporters sitting on the floor inside the V. Major
Cable channels carried the confirmation hearing live
without any commercial interruption. Americans could
also watch on their computers.
The Senate Judiciary Committee members, Republican
and Democratic, took turns asking questions of Judge
Barrett. She took the traditional standing oath to
respond to their questions from Lindsey Graham, Chair of
the Judiciary Committee.
The stakes are high for Judge Barrett and for both
parties. Donald Trump has nominated two current
justices, Gorsuch and Kavanaugh. Barrett arrives with
the history of Merrick Garland being nominated by
Barack Obama when Justice Scalia died.
Senator McConnell refused to allow confirmation
hearings and interviews for eight months . He declared
that the American people should choose the president
who will nominate the successor to Justice Ginsburg.
Now, only weeks and days before the November 3
election, he announced hours after Justice Ruth Bader
Ginsburg died, that he would schedule interviews and a
confirmation hearing as soon as Donald Trump sent him
a nominee for her seat.
That nominee was high on the Federalist Society list for
the president to make his choice, Amy Coney Barrett.
Trump held a large meeting in the Rose Garden at the
White House to introduce her. She stood next to him as
her husband and seven children were seated in the first
row next to Melania Trump.
It should be noted that political events should not be
held in the White House. Also that seats were close
together and very few people wore masks. It became
known as a 11SUperspreader event” with many attendees
testing positive for Covid 19 in the days that followed.
Judge Barrett was a Notre Dame University law professor
with a sterling academic record when she was confirmed
by the Senate for a seat as an Appeals Court Judge. She
served for the first three years of Trump’s presidency on
that court, a relatively brief time compared with most
judges who start at the District Level and then reach
Appeals Court level.
During the three days of her hearings, there was a sharp
contrast between questions from Republican and
Democratic senators. This was expected since the
circumstances of her appointment were controversial as
well as the emphasis that Trump and McConnell had
placed on having a shift in the Liberal v Conservative
blocs on the High Court.
At present there is no longer a split of four liberals and
four convervative with Chief Justice John Roberts the
Swing vote on certain important cases like ObamaCare
and DACA . Judge Barrett was a conservative in her
rulings on the Appeals Court. Gorsuch and Kavanaugh
are also conservatives. Thus the Supreme Court would
become six –three. Breyer, Sotomayor and Kagan are
the liberals …. Thomas, Alito , Gorsuch, Kavanaugh .
Barrett, and Chief Justice Roberts who usually votes
On the Supreme Court docket in early November is the
Trump administration case to eliminate Obamacare. This
is the seventieth time 70 Donald Trump has tried to
destroy ObamaCare. First he tried for years to have
Congress destroy it . In that dramatic finale, John Me
Cain returned to the Senate when they were voting.
Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski had already voted No.
Only one more No vote was needed. Me Cain came in
from his sick bed … walked to the desk and turned his
thumb down. It was one of the most dramatic votes ever
taken by the Senate.
Democratic senators stressed Health Care for the
American people in their questions to Amy Coney
Barrett. ObamaCare serves millions of Americans and
losing all aspects of it would be a crushing blow to their
lives. The senators each dealt with that in their
questions. Some had pictures of their people and told
their stories. Others stressed the pre existing conditions
coverage that they would lose if Obamacare were
declared invalid. Issues of law were discussed by other
Democrats in depth. Senator Kamala Harris, who is Joe
Biden’s running mate ended the third day with an
impassioned emphasis on Obamacare to the American
Republican senators stressed Barrett’s academic record
and offered rebuttals to Democratic comments. Several .
including Chairman Lindsey Graham, have very close
races in their states and must weigh the Obamacare
argument at home. Graham has another problem. He
said at the time Merrick Garland was denied his seat that
it was wrong to do that. He is being shown on cable
news saying “You can quote me on that.”
Amy Coney Barrett had been one of Antonin Scalia’s
clerks. She knew that Merrick Garland was Chief of the
important D.C. Circuit Court. She also said that he should
have been given his seat on The Supreme Court .
At present, we don’t know how the entire Senate will
vote after the Judiciary Committee takes their vote. It
does not appear that the Democrats have four
Republican members who will vote No. It will be a close
coun~ but there will be the required number to appoint
Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.
—-Joyce S. Anderson