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Amy Coney Barrett committee vote scheduled for Thursday

Updated October 21, 2020 - 8:23 pm

WASHINGTON — Judge Amy Coney Barrett met with senators Wednesday, one day ahead of a Judiciary Committee vote on her nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has scheduled weekend debate and a final confirmation vote for Barrett early next week. Democrats in the Senate minority lack the votes to stop the nomination.

Democrats on the Judiciary Committee were expected to boycott the committee vote Thursday, a symbolic gesture as Republicans have a 12-10 majority on the panel to move forward.

McConnell, R-Ky., has scheduled the confirmation vote for Monday. Republicans have a 53-vote majority, but two have said they will not vote on a confirmation before the Nov. 3 election, reducing the voting majority to 51.

All 45 Democrats, and two independents who caucus with the Democrats, are united in their opposition.

Health care case

Democrats have made a rallying cry out of the Affordable Care Act, citing Barrett’s criticism of a Supreme Court ruling in 2012 written by Chief Justice John Roberts that upheld the law. They say that’s the reason President Donald Trump nominated her.

The controversial law — passed under former President Barack Obama without a single Republican vote — is the subject of a lawsuit that will be heard by the high court later in November.

“Trump & his admin have made their position very clear: they want to see the entire #ACA fall. So the president nominated Judge Amy Coney Barrett, who outright stated that she disagrees with Chief Justice Robert’s opinion on the #ACA,” tweeted Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev.

No hints on rulings

Barrett, a judge on the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and a law professor at Notre Dame, was grilled by Democrats during hearings last week. She acknowledged her Catholic religious beliefs but told senators her personal views would not influence her judicial opinions.

In legal writings, Barrett has opposed the Affordable Care Act, as well as the 1973 abortion rights landmark case Roe v. Wade.

During the hearing, Barrett declined to answer specific questions about cases that could come before the Supreme Court, following a practice employed by most nominees, including the woman she was named to replace, the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

In questions posed to her in writing, Barrett repeatedly declined to discuss voting rights, the 2020 election, the ACA, abortion rights and other cases that could come before the court.

News outlets also reported this week that Barrett served on the board of a private Christian school that prevented children of same-sex couples from attending.

Barrett has earned praise from Republicans, however, for her judicial temperament and originalist views of constitutional interpretation. She has cast herself as a justice in the mold of the late Antonin Scalia, for whom she once clerked.

Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., said Barrett has demonstrated a respect for the law, intelligence, good character and steady temperament.

“Having attended college in Tennessee and law school in Indiana, her background will strengthen the Supreme Court by making it more diverse,” Alexander said after meeting with the nominee. “I will vote to confirm her nomination.”

Contact Gary Martin at gmartin@reviewjournal.com or 202-662-7390. Follow @garymartindc on Twitter.

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