Blog, Vacancy Watch

Vacancy Watch: Barrett Hearing Day 3, Part 2

October 14, 2020

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During Wednesday afternoon’s questioning, Amy Coney Barrett continued to alarmingly avoid many questions about her record and views. Here are some highlights:

UNPRECEDENTED: Sen. Richard Blumenthal demonstrated how inconsistent Barrett’s answers have been when it comes to decisions she will agree with or not. She was willing to support the Supreme Court’s decisions on school desegregation and interracial marriage, but not on access to contraception, sodomy laws, or marriage equality. Blumenthal pointed out that such nonanswers would be disturbing to the LGBTQ community and highlighted her previous remark that answering hypothetical questions about precedents is “par for the course” in such hearings.

CLIMATE CHANGE: Barrett also told Blumenthal she was not competent to opine on whether human beings cause global warming. When he asked for her opinion anyway, she claimed, “I don’t think my views on global warming or climate change are relevant to my work as a judge.” During follow-up questioning from Sen. Kamala Harris, Barrett agreed COVID-19 is infections and that smoking is contagious, but again refused to agree that climate change even exists, suddenly insisting it’s a “contentious matter.”

VOTER DISCRIMINATION: Sen. Mazie Hirono asked Barrett if she believes voter suppression or discrimination currently exists. Barrett acknowledged the Voting Rights Act exists and is designed to protect against such discrimination, but she refused to actually say whether discrimination was taking place — let alone whether the Justice Department is actually enforcing those protections. When Sen. Harris followed up, Barrett was only willing to say “racial discrimination” exists in this country — but not “voter discrimination.” She also refused to say if Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, which makes voter discrimination illegal, is constitutional.

FAMILY SEPARATION: Barrett likewise refused to answer Sen. Cory Booker’s question about whether it’s wrong to separate children from their families, as the Trump administration has done with immigrant families:

MISINFORMATION: At the end of his remarks, Republican Sen. Thom Tillis encouraged everyone to vote on November 11, and Barrett agreed. The election is November 3.

Stay tuned for more updates from the confirmation process.

Make sure to follow AFJ on Twitter @AFJustice and check back for regular updates on the fight to #BlockBarrett.