As the Senate Judiciary Committee began questioning Amy Coney Barrett on Tuesday, it became clear that the nominee wasn’t willing to answer questions on some of the biggest issues, including Roe V. Wade and gay marriage. She made that clear right off the bat, under questioning from Democratic ranking member Dianne Feinstein. The California senator pointed out:
“During her confirmation hearing before this committee in 1993, Ruth Bader Ginsburg was asked several questions about her views on whether the constitution protects a woman’s right to abortion.”
But when Feinstein asked Barrett for her view on the same matter, here’s what the former Notre Dame professor said:
“I think on that question, you know, I’m going to invoke Justice Kagan’s description which I think is perfectly put when she was in her confirmation hearing she said that she was not going to grade precedent or give it a thumbs up or a thumbs down and I think in an area where precedent continues to be pressed and litigated… It would actually be wrong and a violation of the cannons for me to do that as a sitting judge. So if I express a view on a precedent one way or another, whether I say I love it or I hate it, it signals to litigants that I might tilt one way or another in a pending case.”
Feinstein asked several follow-ups, but Barrett repeatedly refused to state her position saying:
“I completely understand why you are asking the question, but, again, I can’t pre-commit or say yes I’m going in with some agenda because I’m not. I don’t have any agenda… I have an agenda to stick to the rule of law and decide cases as they come.”
WATCH: After previously calling Roe v. Wade "barbaric," Amy Coney Barrett refuses to give @SenFeinstein a straight answer when pressed on whether she'll vote to overturn a woman's right to choose. pic.twitter.com/KPr3ODpWBt
— DNC War Room (@DNCWarRoom) October 13, 2020
Amy Coney Barrett signed an ad calling Roe v Wade "barbaric" and spoke to anti-abortion groups. Now she won’t say whether Roe was wrongly decided. Don’t be fooled: Barrett has an agenda to get on the Court to overturn reproductive rights.
— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) October 13, 2020
It was a similar story when it came to the issue of gay marriage. Though this time she laid her refusal to answer on the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg:
“Justice Ginsburg used this to describe how a nominee should comport herself at a hearing. No hints, no previews, no forecasts. That had been the practice of nominees before her. But everybody called it the Ginsburg rule because she stated it so concisely and it’s been the practice of every nominee since. So I can’t — I’m sorry to not be able to embrace or disavow Justice Scalia’s position but I really can’t do that on any point of law.”
She went on to say:
“I have no agenda, and I do want to be clear that I have never discriminated on the basis of sexual preference and would not discriminate on the basis of sexual preference.”
Asked if she agrees with Scalia’s opposition to the same-sex marriage ruling, Barrett says people shouldn’t “assume” that she would make the same rulings as her mentor, Scalia, but adds, “I’m not going to express a view on whether I agree or disagree.” https://t.co/4Oz3vY8VSC pic.twitter.com/W8YTEdSMz1
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) October 13, 2020
"Sexual preference," a term used by Justice Barrett, is offensive and outdated. The term implies sexuality is a choice. It is not. News organizations should not repeat Justice Barrett's words without providing that important context.
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) October 13, 2020
I did not choose to be an LGBTQ person. I am not "making a preference". I am simply existing, and this is who I am.
When Amy Coney Barrett refers to our community with phrasing like "sexual preference", she's sending a clear message:
She does not validate our humanity + rights.
— Charlotte Clymer 🏳️🌈 (@cmclymer) October 13, 2020