Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s Senate confirmation hearings continue on Wednesday. Senators will have 20-minute rounds for questioning.
Stay tuned to Breitbart News for live updates.
All times Eastern.
5:40 PM: Graham says Barrett is one of the most incredible humans he has ever met. He calls her judicial philosophy “mainstream” and someone Republicans should be picking for the Supreme Court. Graham says the hearings probably didn’t change anybody’s minds, but he hopes the American people got to know more about Barrett after the hearings. He says with “Amy Barrett, the best is yet to come.” Graham also says in another place and in another time she would get a lot more votes.
Graham says he think Barrett has met every test and will have his full support. Graham says Barrett has broken new ground in a positive way for the country.
He says the committee will go in closed session to hear the FBI’s evaluation and the hearing part is over. Graham says Barrett can have two glasses of wine tonight.
5:23 PM: Blackburn thanks Barrett for her endurance. She accuses Democrats of engaging in “intellectual isolationism.” She says she has found a few things said about Barrett to be “unnecessarily condescending.” She accuses some on the left of wanting to “verbally pound” Barrett to submitting to more leftist ideas.
Blackburn says the left has accused Barrett of being a conservative activist judge and assures them that she won’t be because conservatives want originalists and textualists and not activists.
She says the American people are not afraid of Barrett no matter how much Democrats try to paint a caricature of Barrett. She says Democrats enjoy mocking and belittling conservative women because to them it is “political sport” and the “politics of personal destruction.” She says “it is wrong.”
Blackburn says what gets them is Barrett doesn’t fit into their elitist format. She is from the South, went to school in Memphis (Rhodes College), and doesn’t fit into their Harvard/Ivy League clique.
5:11 PM: Kennedy says America is not racist but has racists in it. He talks about going from institutionalized slavery to an African American president in the blink of an eye. Kennedy says Harris thinks some states are wicked and others are pristine. Kennedy, after jabbing California for wanting to tax anything that moves, says California has a deep history of discrimination against Asians and Hispanics.
5:08 PM: Kennedy, before saying he thinks Harris believes America is systemically racist, wants to give Barrett a chance to answer some of Harris’s accusations.
He asks Barrett if she is a racist. Barrett says she is not.
(Kennedy’s way of asking this type of question does Barrett no favors and opens her up to awkward soundbites).
He asks if Barrett is against clean air and bright water. Barrett says she is not.
He asks if Barrett supports science. She says yes.
He asks if Barrett supports children and prosperity. She says yes.
He asks if Barrett hates warm puppies. She says no.
4:50 PM: Harris says the Voting Rights Act was not inevitable and speaks extensively about the late John Lewis. She says every year he reminded Americans that black Americans were not guaranteed the right to vote and the brutality they had to endure to get the right to vote.
She says many of her colleagues have asked Barrett about Shelby but it is important to revisit the case that “gutted the Voting Rights Act.” She says what the majority of justices did not understand was the success was due to the “brilliance” of Section Five of the Voting Rights Act and its monitoring and enforcement capabilities.
Harris says Barrett has sided with corporations over workers 85 percent of the time.
Harris asks if Barrett agrees with Roberts, who wrote that voting discrimination still exists, and Barrett says she won’t comment on the majority opinion or the dissent in Shelby. Barrett says racial discrimination still exists, but she says she is not going to express an opinion because these are “charged issues.”
Harris said Roberts was asked about the Constitutionality of Section Two during his confirmation hearing and said he did not see it as Constitutionally suspect. She agrees with Roberts.
Harris asks Barrett if she thinks COVID is infectious. She asks if she thinks smoking causes cancer. Barrett answers yes to both before Harris asks if she thinks climate change threatens the air we breathe and the water we drink. When Barrett refuses to engage in the debate, Harris says Barrett has established that she thinks climate change is up for debate.
Harris then says these proceedings lack legitimacy. Harris says, “sadly,” her Republican colleagues are doing “great harm” with this “illegitimate process” and, if they succeed, will do great harm to the people of the United States and the Supreme Court.
4:30 PM: Crapo gives Barrett a chance to say that she is for equal justice under the law for all. She says there are professional and personal reasons to ensure that there is equal justice under the law and to end racism that she abhors.
Crapo says he finds it incredible that a mother of children of different races could be accused of not being sensitive to different races and committed to equal justice under the law.
Crapo gives Barrett to talk about stare decisis and says he is amazed that Barrett is being accused of being a conservative activist judge.
4:07 PM: Spartacus now gets his 20 minutes. He asks Barrett about the public charge rule, and she says at the conclusion of her dissent, she wasn’t resolving the issue and did leave open the possibility that the rule could be “arbitrary and capricious.” Booker asks Barrett if it is wrong to separate children from their parents to deter immigrants from coming to the United States. She says that’s a matter of hot political debate that she can’t be drawn into as a judge. Booker asks if it is wrong to separate a child from a parent to “send a message” and asks, as a human being, if that is wrong. Barrett says she can’t be drawn into a debate about the Trump administration’s immigration policy.
Booker says we are debating things about human rights and “human dignity.”
He now brings up implicit bias in the criminal justice system and asks her what law review articles she has read on the issue. She says she has not done research and most of what she has learned has been through conversations. Booker now talking about the war on drugs and the disproportionate impact on people of color. He says there was lots of drug use at Stanford and few arrests while there are lots of arrests in inner cities.
Now on to voting, Booker asks if she has waited five hours or even an hour to vote. Barrett says she has not. Booker talks about the nationwide racial disparities in voting and virtue-based restrictions re: civic rights like voting and jury service. Barrett again states that voting is a fundamental individual right.
Booker is now talking about modern-day poll taxes for people of color who are more likely to be convicted of felonies.
3:53 PM: Ernst says Ginsburg and Barrett are both trailblazers and accomplished professors who had strong endorsements. She says they were both working moms with strong religious faiths. She says asking women to march to one philosophy is the wrong message to send to women. Ernst says the left thinks Barrett is not worthy of serving on the bench because she is not marching in lockstep with what the left believes.
She asks what she would say to those that she is not an adequate replacement for Ginsburg because she does not march in lockstep with her judicial philosophy. She says disagreeing with her judicial philosophy is perfect grounds for voting no and she has no problems with that. She says there is room on the court for different approaches to the Constitution and they shouldn’t be broken down into partisan boxes because judges aren’t partisan.
3:31 PM: Hirono says Democrats will continue to ask Barrett questions and let the American people know that Barrett will shift the Supreme Court’s balance of power to the right.
She is now asking Barrett about the public charge rule and disenrollments. Hirono says Barrett thinks the rule is “reasonable” and Barrett brings up the “arbitrary and capricious standard.”
Hirono asking about precedent and cases and controversies. She says judges are overturning precedents when it comes to worker’s rights and slams Justice Alito for his campaign against Abood. Hirono says she is seeing the same type of signaling re: Obergefell.
Hirono spends her time trying to make the case that Trump nominated Barrett to do the job Roberts did not do on all sorts of cases dealing with the Census, Obamacare, DACA, etc.
3:16 PM: Technical issues solved, and Tillis now questioning Barrett. He talks about elected officials allowing protesters but banning people from going to church. He asks if she believes if a government entity can allow protests and prevent people from going to church. Barrett says she can’t comment on because cases are being litigated.
Tillis, suggesting some of Barrett’s constitutional rights have been denied during the hearings, asks why she is putting herself through this when she is so accomplished. She says the process has been “excruciating” but she says she is taking the risk because it is for the sake of something good. She talks the rule of law and the importance of the Supreme Court. She says it would be “cowardly” not to answer the call to serve her country. Barrett says one of her children got very upset yesterday during the questioning. She says her children would be a reason not to do it but her children are a reason to do it as well to preserve the rule of law for future generations.
3:00 PM: Committee will take another break due to technical difficulties.
2:37 PM: The technical issues are fixed, and Blumenthal is ready to resume his questioning about voting rights for felons.
Blumenthal wants to know if the Supreme Court should decide the next presidential election. Barrett says the voters decide, and Blumenthal says the presumption should be against the the Supreme Court deciding the election.
Blumenthal asks if Loving v. Virginia was correctly decided. Barrett says it was. Blumenthal now asking about Griswold (correctly decided?) and whether Barrett would have been in the majority.
Blumenthal is “stunned” that Barrett won’t say she wouldn’t be in the majority. Blumenthal now asking about Lawrence, and Barrett says she can’t give a yes or a no and that does not suggest disagreement or agreement, citing the Kagan standard.
Blumenthal now on to Obergefell, and Barrett says she cannot answer the suggestion because she cannot suggest agreement or disagreement re: precedent. Barrett says Blumenthal is basically pushing her to offer advisory opinions, and she is not going to do that. Blumenthal says he wouldn’t want to live in an America where “marriage equality” is taken away, and Barrett says there is nothing in her record to suggest that is the America she wants.
Blumenthal now asking about Trump’s taxes and finances. He says Trump’s vulnerability makes him a national security threat. He says Trump received $73 million from foreign sources in his first two years in office, and asks Barrett to keep in mind that enforcement of laws that prevent corruption is vital. He asks if Trump should be held accountable, and Barrett says “no man is above the law” and says she will apply all laws dealing with anti-corruption with an open mind.
Blumenthal now on to climate change and Barrett’s remarks yesterday about not having firm views. He asks her if she believes human beings cause global warming, and Barrett says she is not qualified to answer and her answers are not relevant to the work she would do as a judge. He says he is also worried about the “shadow docket” and tells the case of another person he fears will lose coverage if Barrett engages in “activism from the bench” and gets rid of Obamacare. Blumenthal says Barrett has taken the Ginsburg rule to a new level and hopes it doesn’t become the “Barrett rule.”
2:00 PM: Committee taking a brief break as they take care of some technical issues (sound system and Barrett’s microphone).
1:55 PM: Blumenthal says he hopes Barrett got some rest, and Barrett says she did have a glass of wine last night. Blumenthal wants to talk more about gun control.
1:36 PM: Hawley asks Barrett if she is aware of any case/legal movements challenging Griswold. She says she is not. Hawley says he was seven years old when Robert Bork came before the committee, and he claims we have seen an attempted “borking” of judge Barrett. Hawley says Democrats are distorting Scalia’s record and then attributing it to her. Hawley allowing Barrett to say she is an independent jurist and not a Scalia clone. Hawley says we can put the rest the attempt to leverage the worst interpretations of Scalia’s opinions and attribute it to Barrett.
Hawley now having a discussion about the emoluments clause, referring to Leahy’s line of questioning earlier in the day. He says it is only fair to ask, hypothetically speaking, about Hunter Biden and whether Hunter Biden’s case would constitute the type of foreign corruption the framers feared. Barrett says she won’t answer hypotheticals, and Hawley says this is a case that could come before her.
Hawley bringing up Justice Thomas’s dissent yesterday about Section 230 in which he suggested it has been applied too broadly.
1:15 PM: Coons asking Barrett about originalism. He says the American people need to better understand what that philosophy could mean re: liberty, privacy, and equality. Coons now discussing Griswold and how Scalia thought there was no general right to privacy in the Constitution.
He asks if she agrees with Scalia that Griswold was wrongly decided. She says Griswold is very very very very very unlikely to go anywhere. She says in order for Griswold to be overruled, someone would have to pass a law outlawing birth control. She says it is an academic question that would not likely arise but she can’t opine on it because it deals with substantive due process. Coons says her predecessors talked about the case in detail.
Coons want to have a discussion about precedent with Barrett. He says a scholar has determined that Barrett has shown a willingness to overturn precedents. Coons says Barrett wrote in a law review article in favor of overruling settled law. Coons says she seems to be saying a judge should overturn settled law if it is “clearly wrong.” Coons asks if she stands by this statement, and Barrett says the article in question was referring to courts of appeal and due process re: issue/claim preclusion. Barrett says it wasn’t about normal functioning of precedent in the Supreme Court. Barrett says nothing in her record on the Seventh Circuit shows a disregard of stare decisis. Coons is worried about “conservative judicial activism” that could touch almost every aspect of modern American life. He says he hopes he is wrong but there is nothing in her works that has alleviated his concerns. Coons says he will be voting against her nomination.
12:53 PM: Sasse asks Barrett how she will judge whether she had a successful career. She talks about integrity and following the rule of law in addition to treating fellow justices with collegiality. He asks how that differs from how a Senator should look back… She says she won’t say how a Senator should look back but as a citizen she would say whether a Senator advanced policies that benefited the public good.
Sasse points out the public, as of this morning, is overwhelming in favor of Barrett’s confirmation.
He then asks what Barrett will write about as justice. Barrett says she found it difficult to balance family life and all of the scholarly demands. She says she would like to do more of what Justice Breyer does–writing that is designed to educate about ideas. She also brings up Justice O’Connor’s civics program as well. She would like to reach a more general audience.
Sasse disagrees with Grassley on cameras in the court. He says cameras in the court will be a bad idea because we’d get more Michael Avenattis.
Sasse now asks Barrett to explain the Ninth Amendment about individual rights being preserved.
Next up is an explanation about the Bill of Rights. After a discussion about the First Amendment, Sasse now talking about how the Houston Astros are “miserable cheaters.” He says the Astros, down 3-0 to Tampa Bay, may be desperate enough to convince the umpire to give them a wider strike zone.
Sasse says some of the questions the last days have implied that Republicans have been trying to get Barrett to make commitments to outcomes. Sasse says her originalism ensures she will not prejudge cases.
12:31 PM: Committee back from break. Klobuchar starts off by focusing on health care, telling the stories of her constituents who are afraid they will lose their health care. She says health care is on the line in Barrett’s hearing. Klobuchar again says these tracks leads to just one place, and that is that she will be the “polar opposite” of Ginsburg. Klobuchar is worried this will change the balance of the court to 6-3 and it will have “grave repercussions.”
She wants to know if she understood Trump’s clear position on Obamacare before she wrote her legal reasoning against Obamacare. She says before she was nominated, Trump tweeted that his judicial appointments would “do the right thing” on Obamacare unlike Justice Roberts. Klobuchar asks if she was aware of Trump’s position on Obamacare before she was nominated. Barrett says Klobuchar is suggesting she has animus or cut a deal with the president, and she has made it clear that that is not the case.
11:58 AM: Committee is in recess until 12:30.
11:37 AM: Cruz says with two full days of questioning, Democrats have barely raised any questions about Barrett’s qualifications. He says much of the hearings has been focused on attacks against Trump. He says they have abandoned the case of trying to make the case that Barrett is anything other than exceptionally qualified. Cruz says there are only two Democrats in the room right now, and that is indicative of what they are tacitly admitting–that they don’t have substantive attacks against Barrett.
Durbin objects, saying Democrats are not there because there is a pandemic. Cruz says that didn’t stop Democrats from being in the room yesterday.
Cruz says Democrats want to limit the Second Amendment as much as possible and get as many felons as they can to vote. Cruz points out that the text of the Constitution allows states to limit the rights of felons to vote while there is no similar language in the Second, which is a point Barrett made earlier to Durbin.
Cruz asks if the Federalist Society has ever lobbied her to take a position on an issue, and she says they have not. Cruz says Democrats have engaged in a “sustained effort” to sully the Federalist Society, and it is “disconnected from reality.” Cruz says he wishes Whitehouse were here so he can have a discussion with him. Cruz now has a chart connecting money from Planned Parenthood and Arabella Advisors to Whitehouse and talks about the left-wing dark money organization Demand Justice.
Cruz says he doesn’t want school choice to be mandated and says he believes if Democrats win in November, they will pack the courts. He says this is the next fight we’re facing and he hopes it does not come to pass.
11:17 AM: Whitehouse, after lecturing Barrett on dark money yesterday, now gets his 20 minutes. Whitehouse asks Barrett if the Supreme Court is subject to a code of ethics. She says the canons of judicial conduct that applies to the lower courts do not apply to the Supreme Court.
Whitehouse now asking about emoluments, and asks if she complies by those rules in her circuit. She says she does and might even have to by statute.
Whitehouse says the highest court is held to a lower standard re: disclosures than the lower courts. Graham asks Barrett how she feels about that now that she knows that is the case.
10:59 AM: Lee asks Barrett about religious freedom issues. He asks about the ministerial exception, and Barrett says it gives religious institutions discretion to hire teachers who are ministers and it requires courts to decide who is a minister. She says it gets a little more difficult if you have a Jewish school or a Catholic school who has a teacher teaching math and the courts have to come up with a multi-factor test.
Lee says the Congressional Research Service analyzed Barrett’s decision and found that her decisions did not show any overarching trends re: expanding/limiting 4th Amendment.
10:46 AM: Barrett tells Durbin that he is distorting what she wrote by suggesting Barrett said voting was a second-class right. She tells Durbin that the 14th Amendment (Section 2) lets states deprive felons the right to vote but there is no “similar language” in the Second Amendment.
10:36 AM: Durbin says there is an “orange cloud” over Barrett’s nomination because of Trump and his comments/tweets.
Barrett says she has given the same answer to every hypothetical that she has been asked when Durbin asks her if Trump can has the authority to delay a general election. Durbin now asks what her answer would be if the president has the unilateral ability to deny a person the right to vote based on race. Barrett cites the 14th and 15th Amendment/external constraints.
10:17 AM: Cornyn wants to “wax philosophical” with her for a few minutes. He says one of the reasons cases like Obamacare get litigated in court is because of lawmakers can’t build consensus. He says Congress has abdicated its responsibilities and handed issues to the judiciary to figure out. He says that is why these confirmation hearings have become so contentious because people see the judiciary as the “policymaker.”
Barrett says judges have life tenure to be insulated from polls, focus groups, etc. And that’s why they decide cases based on the text.
9:56 AM: Leahy now joining the proceedings from Vermont. He says what we do know is Barrett has criticized Roberts’ opinion, and he says that she has come to one conclusion–that Obamacare is unconstitutional–whenever she has opined on it. He asks if she has ever written in favor of Obamacare.
Barrett says she was speaking as an academic and notes that an academic serves a different function…Leahy keeps asking if she ever defended Obamacare. Barrett says she has never had the occasion to speak on the policy.
Leahy now on to voting rights and polling places that have been closed after Shelby. He says black voters are seven times more likely to wait more than an hour in line than white voters. He shows a picture of voting lines in Cobb County, Georgia, and says the majority of people in line are African-American. Leahy says neither he nor Barrett probably have stood in such long lines to vote. Leahy says the Voting Rights Act is not “racial entitlement” for anybody.
Leahy asks if she was aware of the obstacles people of color face, and Barrett says she was not familiar with the statistics he cited and would have an open mind if any case came up before her. Leahy disagrees with Scalia’s “racial entitlement” remarks about the Voting Rights Act.
Leahy says Trump thinks he has an “absolute right to pardon himself,” and he asks if she agrees that nobody is “above the law, not the president, not you, not me.” Barrett says she agrees that nobody is above the law. Leahy asks if the president has an absolute right to pardon himself, and Barrett says that question has never been litigated and it calls for legal analysis for what the scope of the pardon power is. She can’t offer a view because it’s an open question that would require additional analysis. Leahy finds her answer “somewhat incompatible.”
Leahy asks why the framers included the emoluments clause in the constitution. Barrett says it is designed to prevent foreign influence in government affairs. Barrett says there are emolument clause cases that could come before her, so she won’t ask specific questions about Trump.
9:43 AM: Grassley commends Barrett for being forthright and showing that her judicial method is “rigorous” and “fair-minded” and understands the role of a judge–to interpret the law and not to make it. He calls her an “outstanding candidate.”
Grassley says Democrats are using “scare tactics” to convince Americans she will take away people’s health care. Grassley calls this a “charade” and a “distraction.” He says Democrats want to distract from the fact that they want “Medicare for all” and a single-payer system that will lead to government rationing of health care. He says Democrats want to distract from the fact that they filibustered a COVID relief bill.
He now wants to discuss the False Claims Act. Barrett says she doesn’t recall ever speaking about the False Claims Act or any part of the act. He asks if she has any preconceived notions about the act, and she says she does not and would approach any case involving the act with an open mind.
Grassley is now asking about cameras in the Supreme Court, and Barrett says she would keep an open mind about the issue.
9:23 AM: Feinstein questioning Barrett on severability (Medicaid expansion and Scalia’s dissent in NFIB v. Sebelius) and to comment on Scalia’s dissent. Barrett says the issue would be different in the case coming up before the Supreme Court because Scalia thought two provisions were unconstitutional compared to one. She says the current case is about a different provision because Congress zeroed-out the mandate. Feinstein says she is “really impressed” with Barrett’s answer on severability.
Feinstein says some have argued that Medicare is an unconstitutional exercise of the spending power, and she asks if she agrees with originalists who believe Medicare is unconstitutional. Barrett says she is not familiar with the professor’s article that Feinstein cited so she can’t comment. Feinstein asks the same question, and Barrett says it is not a question she has considered before.
Feinstein asks Barrett about absentee ballot extensions during the COVID crisis (Wisconsin), and Barrett says she can’t comment on it because there are cases like that that could come up before her.
Feinstein now asking about voting rights (Shelby). She asks what is her understanding of the history of the Voting Rights Act. Barrett says when she said Scalia’s philosophy is hers too she did not mean she agreed with every single word that Scalia wrote. Barrett says she thinks the Voting Rights Act was a “triumph” of the civil rights movement. Feinstein says “we always need this” because this is a “bulwark” of our democracy. Feinstein asks if Barrett agrees that we need a Voting Rights Act. Barrett says it depends on the various calculations and she can’t comment on it because voting rights cases could come up before her in the Court.
Feinstein asks if she agrees with Scalia who thought the Voting Rights Act was a perpetuation of “racial entitlement.” Barrett says she can’t express a view on the case.
Feintein now on to worker’s rights and age discrimination, and she wants to know what Barrett thinks was the purpose of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. She asks where she would stand on the general subject matter, and Barrett says that would be up to Congress and the states.
9:16 AM: Graham asks if there is a constitutional right to a polygamist relationship, and Barrett says that’s a case someone could litigate down the road. Graham then says Barrett can’t comment on cases that could come up before the Court. He says Barrett could comment on Brown because there aren’t cases being litigated about jurisdictions wanting to go back to the “good ol’ days of segregation.”
9:09 AM: Graham asks Barrett about the doctrine of severability. She says it is one of statutory interpretation….She says if there is one provision within the statute is unconstitutional, the question is whether it can be severed or if it is so unconstitutional that the statute falls like a house of cards.
Graham asks if the presumption is in favor of severability, and Barrett says it is.
Graham says Barrett is every bit in the league of other justices and her life experiences will round out the court. He says Barrett will inspire a lot of young women just like Justices Ginsburg, Kagan, and Sotomayor did. But he says the women Barrett will inspire don’t have a lot of role models in today’s media environment.
9:05 AM: Graham kicks off the third day of hearings. Senators will have up to 20 minutes to ask another round of questions. He says he thought yesterday was a “productive day,” and he hopes to be done before dinner tonight. Graham says Harris suggested last night that Barrett is “not candid,” and he says he could not disagree more. Graham speaking about efforts in the liberal world to marginalize conservative and women of color, especially when they are pro-life. Graham says he has never been more proud of a nominee than he has been of Barrett.
“This is history being made,” Graham says. “This is the first time in American history we’ve nominated a woman who is unashamedly pro-life.”
8:50 AM: Day three of hearings begins at the top of the hour.