With the battle lines drawn over Judge Amy Connie Barrett’s nomination, Senators will begin on Tuesday to reach out to her, looking for answers about her qualifications and legal opinions.
After a day of contradictory opening statements on Monday, as Republicans praised Judge Barrett’s credentials and Democrats warned that she would nullify the Affordable Care Act, all 22 members of the Senate Judiciary Committee would have the opportunity to ask questions to the candidate for 30 minutes at a time.
Coordination can lead to a long day, with some senators asking questions remotely; Senator Kamala Harris of California, the Democratic vice presidential candidate, is participating by videoconference from her office on Capitol Hill, confirming her party’s complaints about a hearing during the Coronavirus pandemic.
Here’s what to watch for on Tuesday as the first protracted day of interrogation begins.
Democrats will avoid questioning Judge Barrett’s character or faith.
Democrats are expected to focus more on the implications of Judge Barrett’s assertion than on criticizing her directly.
In editorial statements on Monday, Democrats denounced the hearing as an attempt by Republicans to rush through a candidate that would shift the Supreme Court’s ideological balance to the right, endangering the healthcare law. Many of them came outfitted with old photos and stories of voters who had relied on the law during the pandemic, wondering what future they would face if the conservative majority repealed the law when it was brought before the court the week following Election Day.
The Democrats want to avoid attacking Judge Barrett’s character, which occurred during Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings in 2018. They also avoid talking about the candidate’s Catholic doctrine, which some Democrats raised during the affirmation hearing. Court seat in 2017.
Republicans spent the first day of proceedings accusing the Democrats’ opposition to Judge Barrett reflected an anti-religious bias, although no democracy was mentioned or hinted at its faith.
Expect to hear more about Judge Barrett’s personal life and career.
In her introductory statement, Judge Barrett spoke at length about her family life as a mother of seven children and her years as a law professor at the University of Notre Dame.
Her story touched on many points Republicans sought to emphasize throughout Monday, including her popularity among students, her publications in prestigious law magazines, and her ability to balance her work with her family.
In Judge Barrett’s questioning over the coming days, Republicans will likely continue to build a profile of the candidate as an accomplished legal researcher who has been inappropriately vetted by Democrats for her personal values.
In doing so, they will likely invite Judge Barrett to speak about her role as a mentor, mentor, and parent of a large family that includes two adopted children. This approach would allow Senate Republicans, the majority of whom are at risk, to appeal to women and independent voters whose candidates need their support to win their re-election.
While Republicans may look to flesh out her résumé by asking about Judge Barrett’s judicial experience as a circuit court judge since 2017, they seem more inclined to focus on her much longer career history as an academic, rather than her judicial philosophy or interpretation of the law. .
The pandemic and the election looms in the background.
With Democrats acknowledging that Judge Barrett’s assertion is inevitable, much of the interrogation is likely to be tainted by the broader political climate in which the confirmation is taking place.
Democrats plan to use their time to ask Judge Barrett her views on access to health care, a topic that helped them win the House majority in the 2018 mid-term elections, and abortion rights, in an effort to underscore her affirmation’s bets on access to independent health care. Voters and women.
While Democrats may pressure Judge Barrett to speak out about her conservative views, which they said could threaten precedents covering abortion rights and other protections, their questions are likely to be futile, as most former candidates refused to answer questions about how to vote in the election. the future.
They are also expected to continue arguing that the hearing is diverting attention and resources from the current public health crisis, as lawmakers have failed to pass new legislation that could provide economic relief.