Barrett Testimony Demonstrates Her Intellect and Principles

October 14, 2020

The following is the statement of Committee for Justice president Curt Levey on the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings for Judge Amy Coney Barrett:


Washington, D.C. — After two days of answering questions before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Judge Barrett has clearly demonstrated several things. One is the reason why her intellect and character is widely admired across the legal community. Another is her commitment to textualism and originalism, principles of judicial interpretation that require that our Constitution and other laws be objectively interpreted as written.

 

Now that Judge Barrett's impressive performance at the hearings has shown us exactly what kind of justice President Trump nominated, it is high time Joe Biden tells us what kind of justices he would nominate by releasing his own list of potential Supreme Court nominees, as the president has done.

 

As the hearings progressed this week, many Democrats on the Judiciary Committee increasingly turned to making speeches rather than engaging in serious questioning of Judge Barrett, making it apparent that they realized her confirmation is now virtually assured.

 

However, that did not stop Committee Democrats from attempting to paint Judge Barrett as someone the American people should be frightened of, as is their tendency with Republican Supreme Court nominees. In particular, Democrats tried to portray Barrett as a judge who will let her Catholic faith and personal beliefs about the sanctity of life interfere with her ability to objectively interpret the law.

 

But, as we explain here, Democrats are just projecting onto Barrett their belief that a "living Constitution" should reflect judges' values and policy preferences. In fact, during the hearings, several Democrats on the Committee openly stated that they think such policy considerations should be part of a judge's legal analysis. In contrast, in her opening statement on Monday, Judge Barrett emphasized that “The policy decisions and value judgments of government must be made by the political branches elected by and accountable to the people," not by the courts.

 

Committee Democrats also tried to portray Judge Barrett as someone who will do President Trump's political bidding once she is on the Supreme Court. But again, it is the Democrats, not Barrett, who argue there is little difference between politics and law. President Trump selected Judge Barrett not because she will vote the "right" way on particular issues, but because she is committed to principles such as textualism

 

We also heard other misleading statements from Committee Democrats. They repeatedly claimed that Barrett's hearing and confirmation are being rushed. But several recent Supreme Court justices were confirmed in comparable or shorter periods of time.

 

Similarly, Democrats repeatedly argued that Barrett's confirmation in an election year would break with precedent. The truth is that when, as now, the Senate and presidency are controlled by the same party, a new justice has been confirmed to fill an election year vacancy on the Supreme Court nearly ninety percent of the time.

 

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