ACB Hearings Day Three: Smooth Sailing
Her unquestionable competence and pure likability are too big a hurdle for Democrats.
Amy Coney Barrett is a highly qualified, supremely intelligent, and downright likable woman. And every Senate Democrat is likely to vote “no” on her confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court. Voters should think about that on November 3.
That’s the big takeaway from this week’s confirmation hearings that have, in some ways, proved rather dull — at least when compared to the Brett Kavanaugh debacle leading up to the 2018 midterm elections. Barrett has calmly answered questions, rightly avoided Democrat attempts to get her to pre-judge their pet cases, and proved herself ready for the job.
Time after time, when Democrats demanded Barrett reveal how she’d rule on certain cases, she said something along the lines of what she told Dick Durbin Wednesday: “Well, senator, it would strain the canons of conduct, which don’t permit me to offer off-the-cuff reactions or any opinions outside of the judicial decision-making process. It would strain Article III, which prevents me from deciding legal issues outside the context of cases and controversies, and as Justice [Ruth Bader] Ginsburg said, it would display disregard for the whole judicial process.”
Barrett sniffed out traps to engage in policy making, as well. In an illustrative exchange, Kamala Harris, who as the vice presidential candidate has every reason to make this a show trial, asked the first setup: “Do you accept that COVID-19 is infectious?” Barrett responded cautiously, “Um, I think yes, I do accept that COVID-19 is infectious, that that’s something of which I feel like we could say you take judicial notice of. It’s an obvious fact, yes.”
Harris then pitched the follow-up: “Do you accept that smoking causes cancer?”
“I’m not sure exactly where you’re going with this…” Barrett began to answer before Harris cut her off. “The question is what it is, you can answer it — yes or no.”
Very well, Barrett concluded: “Senator Harris, yes, every package of cigarettes warns that smoking causes cancer.”
Then Harris sprung the trap. “And do you believe that climate change is happening and is threatening the air we breathe and the water we drink?”
“Ah, senator, again, I was wondering where you were going with that,” Barrett replied. “You have asked me a series of questions that are completely uncontroversial, like whether COVID-19 is infectious, whether smoking causes cancer, and then [you’re] trying to analogize that to eliciting an opinion from me that is on a very contentious matter of public debate, and I will not do that. I will not express a view on a matter of public policy, especially one that is politically controversial, because that’s inconsistent with the judicial role, as I have explained.”
Harris snidely rejoined, “You’ve made your point clear that you believe it’s a debatable point.”
No, what Democrats have done is attempt to equate even the remotest scientific fact of climate change with their desired policy prescriptions, which amount to a socialist takeover of the energy economy. That is a policy question, not a scientific one, and Barrett was absolutely correct in her answer.
Finally, in further discussions on ObamaCare, Barrett competently explained the concept of “severability” as helping courts determine if Congress would “still want the statue to stand even with this provision gone.” It’s simple, really, but it will have a profound effect on the pending case. And Barrett’s answer left Senator Dianne Feinstein saying, “I’m really impressed. Thank you.”
Well, so is the rest of the country. And that’s why, when Barrett is confirmed and the vote is anything less than Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s 96-3, it’s going to reflect very poorly on Democrats.