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Thomas Gallatin / Oct. 13, 2020

ACB Hearings Day One: Dems Hit ObamaCare, Avoid Faith

But Republicans hit Democrats hard over their pattern of religious bigotry.

“It depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is,” Bill Clinton infamously pontificated as he sought to avoid the truth. Semantic games are a tactic often employed by Democrats — especially when they find themselves losing a political argument. This tactic was on full display yesterday during the first day of Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s Senate confirmation hearings. Democrats sought to redefine terms in a disingenuous effort to assert that President Donald Trump’s nomination of Barrett to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was not only an effort to “pack the court” but also equated to a “politicization” of the judiciary.

Tellingly, Democrats avoided any reference to Barrett’s Catholic faith. Perhaps they got the memo that such dogmatic anti-religious attacks against Americans’ First Amendment religious rights don’t play well with voters. Nevertheless, Republicans were ready and came out firing, rebuking the Democrats’ “pattern and practice of religious bigotry,” as Senator Josh Hawley put it, “because that’s what it is, when you tell somebody they are too Catholic to be on the bench.” Senator Ben Sasse reminded Democrats of a core truth: “Religious liberty is the basic idea that how you worship is none of the government’s business. … Whether you worship in a mosque or a synagogue or a church, your faith, or your lack of faith, is none of the government’s business. … This is the fundamental American belief.” Sasse also underscored the fact that religious liberty is enshrined in the Constitution, saying, “You don’t need the government’s permission to have religious liberty. Religious liberty is the default assumption of our entire system, and because religious liberty is the fundamental 101 rule in American life, we don’t have religious tests.”

What Senate Democrats did attack Barrett over was ObamaCare. They dubiously warn that Barrett’s confirmation would spell the end of the Affordable Care Act. Joe Biden’s running mate, Senator Kamala Harris, played to this bogus narrative, lamenting, “By replacing Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg with someone who will undo her legacy, President Trump is attempting to roll back America’s rights for decades to come. Every American must understand that, with this nomination, equal justice under law is at stake. … I do believe this hearing is a clear attempt to jam through a Supreme Court nominee who will take healthcare away from millions of people during a deadly pandemic that has already killed more than 214,000 Americans. I believe that we must listen to our constituents and protect their access to healthcare, and wait to confirm a new Supreme Court justice until after Americans decide what they want in the White House.”

Rhetorical question: Is a Supreme Court justice’s job to uphold the Constitution, or to fulfill the dreams and legacy of Ruth Bader Ginsburg?

Moreover, as is so often the case, what Harris and the Democrats claim is simply not true. In fact, not confirming Barrett could leave the Court with a 4-4 tie in the upcoming ObamaCare case, which would leave standing the Fifth Circuit ruling against the law. Besides, overturning the law is not akin to “taking healthcare away from millions.”

In any case, as distinguished George Washington University law professor and avowed Democrat Jonathan Turley insists, Democrat senators must end the “sham politics of precedent” requiring Barrett to reveal her position on pending court cases during her confirmation hearing. Regarding Harris’s charge of Barrett undoing Ginsburg’s legacy — and in the face of the prospect of Biden packing the Supreme Court with leftists to do his political bidding — Turley notes: “It is a curious way to honor the legacy of Ruth Bader Ginsburg because she spoke vehemently against this type of proposal. She said it would effectively destroy the court. And it would. … It would destroy any semblance of credibility, which is what Ginsburg was referencing when she opposed this idea.”

Ginsburg herself said, “A judge sworn to decide impartially can offer no forecasts, no hints” about how she would rule, “for that would show not only disregard for the specifics of the particular case; it would display disdain for the entire judicial process.”

As for the Democrats’ now-repeated insistence that a president filling a SCOTUS seat in an election year is “court packing,” Turley flatly declared, “This is not court packing.”

Finally, Barrett showed herself to be a brilliant and supremely qualified nominee for the court. In her opening statement she explained, “When I write an opinion resolving a case, I read every word from the perspective of the losing party. I ask myself how would I view the decision if one of my children was the party I was ruling against: Even though I would not like the result, would I understand that the decision was fairly reasoned and grounded in the law? That is the standard I set for myself in every case, and it is the standard I will follow as long as I am a judge on any court.”

The fact of the matter is, Barrett left Senate Democrats with no legitimate rationale for opposing her nomination. But stay tuned, of course, to see how Democrats attack Barrett on day two.

(Updated.)

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