Amy Coney Barrett: ‘I Assure You I Have My Own Mind’

Judge Amy Coney Barrett, President Donald Trump’s nominee to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the U.S. Supreme Court, has completed her testimony. On Thursday, the fourth day of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s nomination hearing, lawmakers will hear from witnesses. A vote is scheduled for next Thursday

On Wednesday, the third day of the hearing, Democrats continued to campaign against President Trump.

Judge Barrett again had to decline to comment on hypothetical cases that could come before the court. The judge calmly and knowledgeably continued to answer questions and explain legal concepts without notes.

Democrats resumed questioning Judge Barrett about Obamacare. In 2012, the high court ruled that the law’s individual mandate was a tax and not a penalty. Judge Barrett criticized the ruling at the time. Democrats questioned her impartiality, because California v. Texas, a case that challenges Obamacare’s constitutionality, will come before the court next month.

In an odd exchange, Democratic Senator Dick Durbin pressed Judge Barrett on whether a president can deny a person the right to vote based on race. This is obvious electioneering and an absurd swipe at President Trump, because as the judge said in her response, the Constitution bars a president or anyone else from doing so.

As Democrats are concerned that the election results will be disputed and how the high court would rule on the matter, Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar implied there would be a conflict of interest if Judge Barrett were on the court. Judge Barrett worked on behalf of Republicans on the Bush v. Gore case in 2000 that decided the outcome of the election. The senator noted that Justice Brett Kavanaugh and Justice John Roberts also worked on the case.

“Do you think that that’s a coincidence?”

“Senator Klobuchar, if you’re asking me whether I was nominated for this seat because I worked on Bush v. Gore for a very brief period of time as a young associate, that doesn’t make sense to me.”

When pressed on how she admires the late Justice Antonin Scalia, Judge Barrett said, “I hope that you aren’t suggesting that I don’t have my own mind or that I couldn’t think independently or that I would just decide like, ‘Let me see what Justice Scalia has said about this in the past.’ I assure you I have my own mind.”

Senate Lindsey Graham, chairman of the committee, noted the historic moment.

“This is history being made, folks,” he said. “This is the first time in American history that we’ve nominated a woman who’s unashamedly pro-life and embraces her faith without apology. And she’s going to the Court. A seat at the table is waiting on you.”

Did you miss the third day of the confirmation hearing? Watch it in full below:

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