Blog, Vacancy Watch

Vacancy Watch: Barrett Hearing Day 4

October 15, 2020

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Thursday marked the fourth and final day of Amy Coney Barrett’s hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Barrett was not present, however. The morning began with a business meeting of the committee, followed by witnesses called to speak for and against Barrett’s nomination.

BREAKING THE RULES: The Senate Judiciary Committee’s rules specifically require there to be two members of the minority party present to conduct business. This morning, only Sen. Dick Durbin was present, yet Chairman Lindsey Graham nevertheless proceeded with a vote to schedule Barrett’s vote for next week — a clear violation of the rules.

MORE UNDISCLOSED SPEECHES: The vote to proceed on Barrett came not only before Thursday’s witnesses could speak, but before Barrett had answered written questions from the committee. It also came to light Wednesday that there are at least seven more speeches that Barrett gave as a law professor but did not disclose to the committee, including yet another speech to Notre Dame’s anti-abortion group.

HISTORIC FIRST: One of the witnesses who spoke against Barrett’s nomination Thursday was Crystal Good, a biracial woman from West Virginia with a transgender daughter who told her story about having to seek a judge’s permission to obtain an abortion at age 16 because of the state’s parental consent laws. She is the first person to ever testify about her experience obtaining an abortion during a Supreme Court confirmation hearing.

LIVES ON THE LINE: Another witness Thursday was Stacy Staggs, Director of Community Engagement for Little Lobbyists. She shared her own journey about the health care challenges her family has faced and the risk that Amy Coney Barrett presents to everybody’s health care. Staggs’ daughter Emma might not be alive if the Affordable Care Act wasn’t the law of the land.

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