Denver, Colorado 2020-10-12 00:13:54 –
WASHINGTON – Confirmation hearings for Supreme Court candidate Amy Coney Barrett are set to begin as a divided Senate accuses President Donald Trump of replacing late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and cementing a Tory majority ahead of election day.
Barrett, a federal appeals court judge, will tell the Senate Judiciary Committee that she is “eternally grateful” for Ginsburg’s pioneering path as a woman. But she is determined to maintain the point of view of her own mentor, the late Conservative Judge Antonin Scalia, and to “apply the law as it is drafted”, according to her opening remarks prepared for the hearings, which begin Monday as the country is grappling with Coronavirus pandemic.
“Courts are not designed to solve all problems or right all wrongs in our public life,” Barrett said in remarks obtained by The Associated Press.
Republicans, who control the Senate, are advancing at breakneck speed to seat Barrett ahead of the Nov. 3 election to secure Trump’s choice and hear a high-level challenge to the affordable care law and any challenge linked to the elections.
Democrats are trying unsuccessfully to delay expedited confirmation by raising new concerns about meeting safety during the pandemic after two GOP senators on the panel tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
Senator Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Senator Thom Tillis, RN.C., have not said whether they will attend in person. Lee’s spokesperson said the senator was showing no symptoms, but would decide whether to be present Monday morning, as ordered by his doctor. A spokesperson for Tillis did not respond to multiple requests for comment. Both tested positive 10 days ago.
Key Democrats are staying on the sidelines. California Senator Kamala Harris, Democratic vice presidential candidate and committee member, plans to participate remotely from her Senate office due to coronavirus concerns, her spokesperson said on Sunday.
The committee released a letter from the Capitol Architect on Sunday stating that the courtroom was installed in consultation with the Attending Physician’s Office with an appropriate distance between the seats and ventilation systems that meet or exceed standards for industry.
“We are going to work safely,” said committee chair Senator Lindsey Graham, RS.C., on Fox News Channel’s “Sunday Morning Futures”. He said he took a coronavirus test last week and was “negative”.
Trump picked the 48-year-old judge after the death last month of Ginsburg, a liberal icon. This is the opportunity to dedicate a conservative majority to the tribunal for years to come with its third judge.
Outside groups are pushing Democrats to advocate strongly against what they call illegitimate confirmation, with people already voting in some states, saying the winner of the presidency should make the choice. No Supreme Court judge has ever been confirmed so close to a presidential contest.
“The public is with them that this shouldn’t happen before the election,” said Brian Fallon, executive director of Demand Justice, which campaigns against right-wing candidates.
The country will have an extended look on Barrett over the next three days in hearings like no other during the heated electoral environment and the pandemic limiting public access.
Faith and family punctuate her testimony, and she said she would bring “some new perspectives” as the first mother of school-aged children to the nine-member court.
Barrett says she uses her children as a test to decide cases, wondering how she would perceive the decision if one of her children was the party she was ruling against.
“Even if I wouldn’t like the result, would I understand that the decision was reasonably reasoned and based on the law?” she said in the prepared remarks.
Catholic, she says she believes in the “power of prayer”. Barrett’s religious views and past leadership role in a Catholic faith community pose a challenge for Democrats as they attempt to probe his judicial approach to abortion, gay marriage and other social issues without turning back. towards inappropriate questions of his faith.
Normally, Barrett could show his family and seven children. But the White House event announcing his appointment, in which most of the public did not wear masks, has been called a “super-diffuser” of the coronavirus.
More than two dozen people linked to the Rose Garden event on September 26, including the two GOP senators, have contracted COVID-19 since then. Barrett and his family went maskless at the event. She and her husband, Jesse, tested positive for the virus earlier this year and have recovered, two administration officials said.
Democrats were already furious that Republicans were acting so quickly after refusing to consider President Barack Obama’s candidate in February 2016, well ahead of that year’s election.
Barrett has been the most openly anti-abortion candidate for the Supreme Court in decades and her vote could provide a majority to restrict or even nullify abortion rights. Democrats have made it clear they will pressure Barrett on health care, abortion and other issues where his vote could push the court further to the right.
Republicans will emphasize Barrett’s belief in sticking to the text of the laws and the original meaning of the constitutional provisions, the two Scalia brands as well.
Associated Press editors Matthew Daly in Washington and Kathleen Ronayne in Sacramento, Calif. Contributed to this report.