Democrats did their best to denigrate Judge Amy Coney Barrett this week, but the jurist came well-prepared.
As Dems on the Senate Judiciary Committee pointed to the late Antonin Scalia to paint a nefarious portrait of Barrett’s worldview, the judge fired back with a stunning retort, telling one Democrat, “I assure you I have my own mind,” as Fox News reported.
Barrett holds her own
Over two days of questioning, Barrett had occasionally sharp exchanges with Democrats as they attempted to frame her as a political appointee made for the express benefit of Donald Trump and, as Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) demonstrated memorably, “dark money” groups.
Again and again, Democrats intimated that Barrett would overturn Obamacare and roll back certain rights, often pointing to Barrett’s mentor, the late Antonin Scalia — or, as one Republican put it, a “draconian misrepresentation” of the late jurist, who was known for his fiery dissents in fraught cases like Obergefell v. Hodges, which guaranteed the right to same-sex marriage.
On the second round of questioning, Democrat Chris Coons (DE) grilled Barrett over her self-avowed originalist philosophy, which Scalia shared.
“I hope that you aren’t suggesting that I don’t have my own mind,” Barrett said at one point, according to Fox, “or that I couldn’t think independently or that I would just decide like, ‘Let me see what Justice Scalia has said about this in the past.'”
“You would be getting Justice Barrett”
More than once, Barrett acknowledged the influence that Scalia had on her philosophy while contesting the idea that she would weigh cases just like him, vowing in her first day of questioning, “You would not be getting Justice Scalia, you would be getting Justice Barrett.”
“I would say that Justice Scalia was obviously a mentor, and as I said when I accepted the president’s nomination, that his philosophy is mine, too,” Barrett said, according to Fox 5 in D.C.
She went on: “But I want to be careful to say that if I’m confirmed, you would not be getting Justice Scalia, you would be getting Justice Barrett. And that’s so because originalists don’t always agree.”
Save the date
Throughout the hearings, Barrett repeatedly emphasized that she would not judge with any particular political outcome in mind, only the Constitution. Nevertheless, Democrats seemed to have their minds made up about what kind of justice Barrett would be.
Despite Dems’ protests, Barrett is expected to be confirmed.
According to Fox, the Senate Judiciary Committee has scheduled a panel vote Thursday for Oct. 22.