Judge Amy Coney Barrett defended her independence and avoided answering direct questions during a Senate Judicial Committee hearing on Wednesday that is unlikely to slow her path to a Supreme Court confirmation ahead of the November 3 presidential election.
On the third day of Barrett's hearings, each of the committee's 22 senators was interviewed in a second round. Confident that Barrett will have the votes that must be approved by the committee and the entire Senate, Republicans have embraced what have been called Barrett's "outrageously pro-life" personal views.
President Donald Trump nominated 48-year-old Barrett to succeed Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg after the 87-year-old Liberal passed away last month and has repeatedly urged her to sit in time to address any dispute related to the election .
Their endorsement would give Trump his third Supreme Court candidate and provide a 6-3 majority for Conservatives, which would give the GOP a legal boost for the foreseeable future.
The hearing ended around 6 p.m. ET, about nine hours after it started. The first day of the survey on Tuesday lasted from 9 a.m. until late in the evening. On Thursday the committee will hear from experts for and against Barrett's confirmation, and a vote from the committee is expected on October 22nd.
Democrats, who have admitted they are unlikely to be able to prevent Barrett from confirming, questioned the judge on voting cases and her previous statements on the Affordable Care Act, urging her to recognize the constitutional limits of Trump's power.
Liberal Senators continued to oppose an upcoming Affordable Care Act case, also known as Obamacare, which the Supreme Court is expected to hear on November 10th. While Barrett has repeatedly refused to comment on the case, Democrats believe they are focused on the Trump administration's efforts to wipe out the law could stimulate voters.
Regarding Obamacare and other cases, Barrett told Senators that she would openly stand on the bench, but followed the model of previous candidates and declined to say much more.
When Senator Chris Coons, D-Del. Suggested that Barrett vote the same way as the late Judge Antonin Scalia, whom Barrett was an employee early on, she replied, "I assure you I have my own mind. " Barrett had previously publicly identified with Scalia's legal ideology.
Barrett's refusal to go into details continued to frustrate the Democrats.
After California Senator Dianne Feinstein, the senior Democrat on the committee, asked Barrett if she would agree with some originalist lawyers who found the Medicare program unconstitutional, Barrett said she could not answer, quoting what she called "Ginsburg- Rule "denoted" no hints, no preview, no forecasts. "
"I find it hard to believe that this is a real question. Because I think the Medicare program is really sacrosanct in this country," Feinstein replied.
Barrett also declined to look into Shelby County v Holder, a landmark 2013 case that weakened the voting law and an April Supreme Court ruling that shortened the deadline for postal ballot papers in Wisconsin .
"It's the kind of case that could come up in a closely related form, either on the 7th Circuit or in the Supreme Court," Barrett said.
Barrett wouldn't tell Coons whether the 1965 Griswold v Connecticut case, which protects married couples' rights to contraception, was properly settled, although she said the question had become largely academic as the precedent was unlikely to be challenged becomes.
Barrett allowed Senator Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., To agree that "no one is above the law". But she refused to say whether Trump had the absolute right to apologize to himself, noting that the question "may or may not come up, but it's one that requires legal analysis".
"I find your answers a little incompatible," Leahy told her.
Republicans continued to suggest that Barrett's exact legal views were obscure, despite praising her personal commitment to religion and the rule of law.
While Barrett's strict adherence to her legal views frustrated the Democrats, the Republicans celebrated her for being open about her background as a Catholic mother of seven.
"You have been open to this body about who you are and what you believe," said committee chairman Sen. Lindsey Graham. R-S.C. Said in his opening speech. He said the hearing was "an opportunity not to punch through a glass ceiling, but a reinforced concrete barrier around conservative women."
"This is the first time in American history that we have nominated a woman who is outrageous for life and accepts her beliefs without apology," said Graham.
Senator Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said the Democrats' questions suggested they were "treating this hearing as a political hearing."
"Sometimes I was confused and thought we were on the health committee, not the justice committee," said Cruz. He said the focus on upcoming cases rather than Barrett's qualifications "revealed very good news".
"Judge Barrett is ratified by this committee and by the entire Senate," said Cruz.