During the first day of the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing for Judge Amy Coney Barrett on Monday, Democrats didn’t get to ask the nominee any questions, but they seemed to already have their minds made up on the judge.
In opening statements Monday and in questioning the next day, Democrats spent most of their time levying partisan attacks against Barrett, framing her as a shadowy reactionary who wants to end Obamacare, the Washington Examiner reported.
Democrats levy partisan attacks at Barrett hearings
Democrats spent most of Monday’s hearing vilifying Barrett as a “judicial torpedo,” as Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), put it, or an “extremist ideological judge,” who would “legislate from the bench” with an activist agenda, in the words of Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT).
In speech after speech, Democrats hammered their party’s talking points about health care, warning that Barrett would callously jeopardize coverage for Americans with preexisting conditions by overturning the Affordable Care Act, the Examiner reported.
“If Republicans are successful, the results will be nothing short of catastrophic for millions of Americans who depend upon its coverage and protections,” said Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT).
As the Examiner noted, the strategy reflects a calculation by Democrats that they likely cannot stop Barrett’s confirmation, forcing them to settle for the next best thing: scoring political points during election season.
“Our strategy is to reveal this judge for what she is,” Blumenthal told reporters. “Determined to legislate from the bench and repeal laws that the American people support, that Congress refused to erase, and essentially to repeal the protections for people with preexisting conditions.”
Grilling began Tuesday
The hostile tone that Democrats set Monday continued as they began grilling Barrett on Tuesday, when they spent much of their time demanding that she commit to ruling in certain ways on same-sex marriage, abortion, Obamacare, gun rights, and other issues. They even called on her to recuse herself from weighing in on any disputed outcome in the upcoming presidential election, intimating that she would throw the contest to Trump, Fox News reported.
“He’s counting on you to deliver him the election,” Leahy sneered.
Challenged repeatedly to explain how she would vote on a particular case, Barrett stuck to the point she made in her opening statement Monday: since it is not her job to make policy, she cannot make any promises on how she would vote. “No hints, no previews, no forecasts,” she said, quoting Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
At one point, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) asked Barrett point-blank if she was ever asked to repeal Obamacare.
“Absolutely not, I have never been asked and if I had that would have been a short conversation,” she said.