Barrett Won’t Commit to Election Dispute Recusal

Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett holds up note paper as she speaks during the second day of her confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2020. (Drew Angerer/Pool via AP)
The Associated Press

Washington – Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett is vowing to bring no “agenda” to the court, batting back senators’ questions Tuesday on abortion, gun rights and the November election, insisting she would take a conservative approach to the law but decide cases as they come.

“Judges can’t just wake up one day and say I have an agenda, I like guns, I hate guns, I like abortion, I hate abortion and walk in like a royal queen and impose their will on the world,” Barrett said at the second day of confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The 48-year-old appellate court judge also declined to commit to recusing herself from any cases arising from that election.

“I can’t offer an opinion on recusal without short-circuiting that entire process,” she said.

Barrett was on Capitol Hill for a second day of hearings, the mood quickly shifting to a more confrontational tone from opening day. She was grilled in 30-minute segments by Democrats strongly opposed to Trump’s nominee, yet virtually powerless to stop her. Republicans are rushing her to confirmation before Election Day.

Trump has said he wants the ninth member on the court to handle any cases that may arise. But Barrett said it would be a “gross violation” of judicial independence to make a commitment on how she’d rule. She insisted she has not spoken to the president or his team about how she would handle such cases.

Earlier, a frustrated Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat, on the panel, all but implored the nominee to be more specific about how she would handle landmark abortion cases, including Roe v. Wade and the follow-up Pennsylvania case Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which confirmed it in large part.

“It’s distressing not to get a good answer,” Feinstein told the judge.

Barrett told the senator she could not pre-commit to an approach.

“I don’t have an agenda to try to overrule Casey,” the judge said. “I have an agenda to stick to the rule of law and decide cases as they come.”

The committee chairman, Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., gaveled open the session under coronavirus protocols. Graham quickly asked if the Catholic judge would be able to shelve her personal beliefs to adhere to law.

“I can. I have done that,” she said. “I will do that still.”

Graham praised her as a conservative woman of faith and the best possible nominee Trump could have chosen.

“I will do everything I can to make sure that you have a seat at the table. And that table is the Supreme Court,” Graham said.

Barrett, a former law professor, described herself as taking a conservative, originalist approach to the Constitution – “text as text” – and believes a judge “doesn’t infuse her own meaning into it.”

User login

Omaha Daily Record

The Daily Record
3323 Leavenworth Street
Omaha, Nebraska
United States

Tele (402) 345-1303
Fax (402) 345-2351