Last week, Judge Amy Coney Barrett was questioned on a wide range of topics during a four-day long hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Although she was grilled left and right, it was clear that the hearing was not about questioning her qualifications, but further bickering between Democrats and Republicans.
Barrett seemed calm and composed throughout the hearings. She was unconcerned, unscathed and sometimes mocking throughout the questioning, such as when she held a blank letterpad when senators asked how she had “prepared” before entering the hearing. Although her inclination towards conservatism, especially her image as a staunch Catholic and construtionalist, was questioned frequently, none of them succeeded in bringing her down.
The hearing veered off from the main topic frequently because Democratic senators were not there to make Barrett defend her qualifications for a Supreme Court nomination. Rather, the Democrats questioned Barret off the assumption that she was President Donald Trump’s mouthpiece. The hearings, for them, became a new way to vilify the president before the upcoming Nov. 3 election. It quickly became clear to anyone watching that these hearings served more as a political vehicle than as a legitimate cross-examination.
Barrett also seemed to understand this, however. She spent most of the hearing trying to assure the public that Supreme Court Judges are independent, fair and impartial.
“Americans of all backgrounds deserve an independent Supreme Court that interprets our constitution and law as they’re written,” Barrett said.
However, this was all in vain. No senator changed their vote after the hearing, and seemed to glean nothing from the entire week. Instead, Democratic senators used the hearings to grill Barret on controversial issues, designed to show the monstrous face of the current administration to voters.
Some issues mentioned included repealing the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), reforming DACA-friendly immigration laws, overturning Roe v. Wade and combating climate change. Barret was also asked about many of Trump’s recent controversial statements, such as his meddling in voting rights by delaying national elections.
Senator Kamala Harris, the vice presidential candidate for the Democratic Party, also used the hearings to promote her and Joe Biden’s campaign. Harris would mention all the plans and policies the Biden-Harris ticket is campaigning on whenever a certain issue came up. This “advertising” and her constant pressuring was not appropriate. Harris was denigrating the decision-making ability of Barrett through her own conjectures and could not help but steep Barrett in the mire of political agendas.
Also, senators constantly comparing Barrett to the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg did not make sense at all. A Justice should judge a case based on what is written in the Constitution, not their political preferences. It is important to understand that Ginsburg, who supported pro-choice, was not unanimously supported by the American population. Likewise, being pro-life should not mean that everybody should disagree with Barrett.
All in all, Barrett did a commendable job in the Senate hearings that seemed to do anything but find out whether or not she is an eligible candidate for Chief Justice.