Barrett Confirmation
October 25, 2020

The Senate on Sunday voted to advance Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett toward final confirmation.

The final count was 51-48, with Democrats unanimously voting in opposition, and Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) crossing the aisle to join them. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), the Democratic vice presidential nominee, was not present for the vote. Both Collins and Murkowski, like their Democratic colleagues, have said they believe Barrett's nomination was too close to the Nov. 3 election to move forward, although Murkowski said Saturday that she will now back the judge's confirmation after losing the "procedural fight." Collins is expected to stick with the Democrats going forward, but Barrett should still be confirmed without much drama.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who has faced criticism from Democrats for expediting the confirmation process after blocking former President Barack Obama's nominee in 2016 because it was an election year, called Barrett one of the most "impressive" nominees for public office "in a generation," adding that the "heated" debate around confirmation "curiously" lacked talk of her "actual credentials or qualifications." Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), meanwhile, said the vote was a "sham."

Sunday's vote allows for 30 hours of debate, setting up a final tally on Monday evening around 7 p.m. ET. Read more at The Associated Press. Tim O'Donnell

October 21, 2020

Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee plan to make one final stand against Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett on Thursday.

The committee will vote then to advance her nomination to the full Senate, but Democrats plan to boycott that vote, a Democratic aide tells HuffPost. They reportedly plan to fill their chairs with photos of constituents who would be hurt if the Affordable Care Act was overturned — the same photos they brought to the first day of Barrett's hearings. Democrats fear Barrett could cast a deciding vote to repeal the ACA as challenges to it likely reach the court in the coming months.

Democrats have seemed frustrated with Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) after she failed to put up much of a fight against Barrett's hearings and even publicly thanked Republicans once it was over. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said he had a "long and serious talk" with Feinstein, but otherwise didn't criticize or defend her. Kathryn Krawczyk

October 15, 2020

Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett has a slew of other speeches she didn't disclose to the Senate, CNN reports.

Barrett gave at least seven talks at Notre Dame Law School she didn't reveal in her Senate questionnaire, including one with the school's anti-abortion group, public calendars from the school show. Those new discoveries were enough to convince Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), a member of the Judiciary committee, that the final day of Barrett's hearings should be delayed. The new reports, combined with her refusal to answer many questions during the hearings, "have been actually very revealing about how unrevealing, uncandid this nominee has been," Blumenthal said.

So when questioning began Thursday in Barrett's hearings, Blumenthal presented a motion to delay the confirmation process. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) was among those who called out Barrett for being less than forthcoming in the final day of confirmation hearings, saying even at this point in the hearings, "we really don't know what she thinks about any issues." Kathryn Krawczyk

October 14, 2020

Whether it was Obergefell v. Hodges, the case that granted same-sex marriage rights nationwide, or Griswold v. Connecticut, a case regarding birth control, Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett refused to give opinions on how those cases were decided, citing the fact that they may come before the court again.

But when asked Wednesday about Loving v. Virginia, the case that declared mixed-race marriage constitutional, Barrett did affirm the case was correctly decided — and for a debatable reason, Steven Mazie, a Supreme Court correspondent for The Economist, says. Barrett based her reasoning solely on the previous decision in Brown v. Board of Education, which outlawed school segregation.

But while Brown's decision stemmed from the 14th Amendment's equal protection clause, Loving stemmed from it and the due process clause. "So there is no sound reason why she can affirm Loving ... but decline to opine on gay rights," Mazie said.

Equal protection was a more important factor in Loving, Mazie concluded via New York University law professor Melissa Murray. But it still left him with a question: If mixed-race marriage is usually affirmed as a right of "personal intimacy," why aren't birth control and same-sex marriage as well? Kathryn Krawczyk

October 14, 2020

Judge Amy Coney Barrett's nomination to the Supreme Court has been a major point of contention between Republicans and Democrats since President Trump made the call last month, primarily because of its proximity to the November election, which was the reason the Republican-led Senate blocked then-President Obama's nominee in 2016. But the latest Morning Consult poll on the matter suggests Americans across the political spectrum have grown increasingly supportive of Barrett's confirmation.

Back on Sept. 26, for example, only 14 percent of Democrats said the Senate should vote to confirm Barrett. That figure nearly doubled in Wednesday's poll. Overall, a plurality of Americans back Barrett's confirmation, while only 31 percent said the upper chamber should block her nomination, indicating that most of those in the initially undecided crowd have shifted toward the confirm camp.

Although public opinion does not directly affect the process, the numbers certainly appear to boost the likelihood that the GOP will have the numbers needed for Barrett to fill the seat. Still, it's worth noting the poll was conducted before Barrett's Senate Judiciary Committee hearing began this week.

The Morning Consult poll was conducted online from October 09-11, 2020, among a national sample of 1986 registered voters. The margin of error was 2 percentage points. Read the full results here. Tim O'Donnell

October 14, 2020

Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett faced another day of Senate questioning on Wednesday, during which Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) asked some questions about how the court balances out the president. In particular, Leahy wondered how Barrett would feel about a president pardoning themself, given that President Trump has claimed he has that power.

"Does a president have an absolute right to pardon himself for a crime?" Leahy asked Wednesday. Much like she has for other questions, and as she did when Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) asked about self-pardoning on Tuesday, Barrett declined to give an answer. "So far as I know, that question has never been litigated," Barrett said, preventing her from answering because she could have to decide on it later.

Barrett's lack of an answer came just after she affirmed that "no one is above the law," but said that even the Supreme Court cannot "control whether or not a president obeys" a court's ruling. That could come into play if the Supreme Court has to litigate in next month's presidential election. Kathryn Krawczyk

October 13, 2020

During her confirmation hearing on Tuesday, Judge Amy Coney Barrett, President Trump's Supreme Court nominee, said she is neutral when it comes to climate change, holding no "firm views."

Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) brought up climate change during his questioning, when he said to Barrett, "My colleagues think you're only qualified if you're dumb, if you have a blank slate. If you've never thought about the world. Have you thought about the world?"

Barrett said yes, she had, and Kennedy followed-up by asking if she has thought about "social problems," "economic problems," and "climate change." Barrett answered in the affirmative regarding social and economic problems, and told Kennedy regarding climate change, she's "read about" the subject, but is "certainly not a scientist. I mean, I've read things on climate change — I would not say I have firm views on it." Kennedy did not press Barrett further on the topic.

Dr. Jennifer Marlon, a researcher with the Yale Program on Climate Communication, told Missouri news station KOMU earlier this month that Americans are increasingly seeing climate change as a major issue. In conservative Missouri, "a strong majority" of people are "convinced that climate change is happening, and that it is a serious risk that is going to cause harm to future generations, certainly to other plants and animals, that it's going to harm people in the United States." She added that climate change is "not an opinion. The climate is in fact changing. We have over 250,000 different pieces of evidence, indicators of how that climate is changing." Catherine Garcia

October 13, 2020

Judge Amy Coney Barrett returned to a familiar argument Tuesday during her Supreme Court confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Sen. Amy Klobucher (D-Minn.), citing a situation in her home state that involved an outside contractor hiring "poll watchers" to patrol voting locations, asked her if voter intimidation was illegal.

"I can't characterize the facts in a hypothetical situation, and I can't apply the law to a hypothetical set of facts," Barrett responded. "I can only decide cases as they come to me, litigated by parties on full record after fully engaging precedent, talking to colleagues, writing an opinion. And so I can't answer questions like that."

Klobuchar then read aloud a law "that has been on the books for decades" which bans threatening, coercing, or attempting to intimidate at the voting booth, but Barrett still said it wasn't "appropriate" to answer whether a "reasonable person" would be intimidated by armed civilians at the polls. Tim O'Donnell

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