Speed Reads

Barrett Confirmation

Barrett declines to say whether Trump has authority to delay the election

Judge Amy Coney Barrett declined to say that a United States president doesn't have the authority to unilaterally delay an election.

During the second day of her Supreme Court confirmation hearings on Tuesday, Barrett was asked by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) whether the president has "the authority to unilaterally delay a general election under any circumstances," noting that President Trump floated this idea earlier this year while pushing baseless voter fraud claims. Barrett did not comment on whether the president would have the authority to do so.

"If that question ever came before me, I would need to hear arguments from the litigants and read briefs and consult with my law clerks and talk to my colleagues and go through the opinion writing process," she said. "If I give off the cuff answers, then I would be basically a legal pundit, and I don't think we want judges to be legal pundits. I think we want judges to approach cases thoughtfully and with an open mind."

Sylvia Albert, Common Cause director of voting and elections, previously explained to The Washington Post that the Constitution "empowers Congress, not the president, to select Election Day." Albert added, "No laws passed by Congress have delegated these powers to the president, even in an emergency, so Congress is the only entity that has the power to change the date of the election." Brendan Morrow