Republican zeal carried President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee — Amy Coney Barrett — closer to confirmation Thursday, pushing past Democratic objections and other priorities during the COVID-19 crisis.
In the drive to seat her before the upcoming Nov. 3 elections, the Senate Judiciary Committee set Oct. 22 for its vote to recommend Barrett’s nomination to the full Senate, with a final confirmation vote expected by month’s end.
The 48-year-old Barrett was careful during two days of public testimony not to tip her views on many issues, or take on the president who nominated her. Facing almost 20 hours of questions from senators, she declined to offer specifics beyond a vow to keep an open mind and take the cases as they come.
“A judge must apply the law as it is written, not as she wishes it were,” she voiced predominantly.
Several figures from the Senate spoke in her support, Tennessee’s Senator Marsha Blackburn among them, calling her “a legal and judicial rockstar.”
Iowa’s Senator Joni Ernst also pitched in declaring that Barrett had “once again affirmed her dedication to the rule of law and the proper role of a judge.”
“I have confidence that Judge Barrett will leave the politics to politicians and legislating to legislators,” she added.
On the opposing side, several others on the Senate rose to voice their dissent, disappointed by Barrett’s shying away from the issues at stake.
“A sham,” said Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn. “Power grab,” protested Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn. “Not normal,” said Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill.
“You don’t convene a Supreme Court confirmation hearing, in the middle of a pandemic, when the Senate’s on recess, when voting has already started in the presidential election in a majority of states,” declared Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del.
Standing stout against those claims, the supporters announced that Trump was well within bounds to fill the vacancy, and they had the votes to do it. Relying on a slim majority, the Republicans were poised to lock a 6-3 conservative court majority for years to come.
Senator Ted Cruz, repping Texas, tweeted to back the cheerers on.
“2020 is not the 1st time a SCOTUS vacancy has been filled in an election year” he claimed.
“29 times there has been a vacancy in an election year & presidents made nominations 29 times….17 times the nominee was confirmed.”
The democratic camp’s Vice President-hopeful, Senator Kamala Harris — recently diagnosed negative for COVID after two of her travelling campaign members tested positive — highlighted several core issues that would disrupt the U.S. landscape if Barrett took seat.
“Three years ago today, Trump signed an executive order undercutting the Affordable Care Act” she tweeted.
“Today, he’s in court trying to get rid of the ACA and its protections for people with pre-existing conditions—and rushing through a Supreme Court justice who will help ensure that.”
She reiterated the liberal objections to the hearing, adding that it was the voters right to elect a head who would follow through with replacing the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg position.
“This Supreme Court nomination process is illegitimate and deliberately defies the will of the people. Republicans will stop at nothing to jam through a nominee who will take health care away from millions of Americans during a global pandemic.”
Harris accused the Republicans of wanting to strike down ‘Obamacare’, highlighting the repercussions of having the Act snatched away form the citizens.
“If they succeed, you could have to pay for mammograms, cancer screenings, and birth control. Young adults aren’t guaranteed being on their parents’ plans. Seniors could pay more for prescription drugs. It’s all at stake.”
Harris also imposed the urgency of Barrett’s bland attitude to the debacle, questioning whether she had seen or heard statements from the POTUS ‘promising to nominate judges who would rule against the Affordable Care Act.’
“Her answer? ‘I don’t recall’” tweeted Harris.
On another note, when asked if Trump had spoken to her about the Act before her nomination, Barrett was quick to refute the charge at her hearing.
“Absolutely not. I was never asked. And if I had been, that would have been a short conversation,” she said.
Notorious RBG, was known for leaving behind a legacy of revolutionary wins for women empowerment, including the right to a job without fear of gender discrimination or sterilisation.
Fears have now risen with Trump’s prior 2016 promise to appoint ‘pro-life’ judges on the court, many foreseeing a threat to ’Roe V. Wade’ — a landmark 1973 ruling that made abortion legal.
Barrett’s on-record stance also provides no definite answer to the issue.
“I think don’t think the core case – Roe‘s core holding that, you know, women have a right to an abortion – I don’t think that would change. But I think the question of whether people can get very late-term abortions, how many restrictions can be put on clinics – I think that would change,” she said in a speech at a Jacksonville University in 2016.
When asked again at the hearing, she once again chalked it up to ‘as per case.’
Justice Ginsburg said the right to choose was “essential to women’s equality.”
“We already know where Judge Barrett stands on a woman’s right to choose,” Harris tweeted in response, quoting the late Ginsburg who’s previously stated that the right to choose was ‘essential to women’s equality.’
“It would be a disgrace to appoint her to Justice Ginsburg’s seat,” Harris concluded, as Women Marches were seen spiralling across the states on Saturday, touting RBG banners.
With the wildfires charring away towns, forests and fauna across the states, the issue of climate change also took stage at the hearing with Harris attempting to prompt an answer from Barrett on the Q of the hour ever since Trump took to power — is climate change real?
A round of star-studded names too, have publicly affirmed their support for the Biden-Harris duo, with the democratic campaign now leading the polls, brandishing double-digits over the Trump-Pence trail, according to NPR.
The Hamilton cast, including the cherished Lin Manuel Miranda, hosted a grassroots fundraiser for the campaign, while big-name actress-singer Jennifer Lopez and baseball star, Alex Rodriguez engaged in a virtual chat with former VP Biden and wife, Dr. Jill Biden to lend their support.
The BuzzFeed-to-Independent prolific YouTube personalities — Try Guys — also proudly endorsed Biden on their channel, listing a myriad list of reasons to support the former VP.
Meanwhile the Trump campaign has now actively engaged in signing off aids to a plethora of causes such as job-creation to combat unemployment, loans to small businesses, front-liner COVID supplies, etc. among others.
The campaign also continues to defiantly highlight its Medicare health plan premiums, juxtaposing it against the figures under Democratic former President Barack Obama’s reign.
With the nation now holding it’s breath on Barrett’s confirmation — a move that would bring about the most pronounced ideological change on the court in 30 years — several issues are now open to a new uncertainty.
These include prison reforms, gun safety, LGBTQ+ rights, immigration laws, climate issues, and the ever-widening, pandemic-driven wealth gap.
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