Pro-life, no apologies, no partiality: Amy Coney Barrett praised on day 3 of hearings

Washington D.C., Oct 14, 2020 / 10:30 am (CNA).- Sen. Lindsay Graham hailed Judge Amy Coney Barrett for her convictions and religious beliefs Wednesday morning, while emphasising her ability to be an impartial judge. Graham spoke at the opening of the third day of Barrett’s Supreme Court confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee. 

“I think it’s pretty clear to everybody that’s been watching these hearings that you and your family are pro-life, that you are a practicing Catholic, and you adhere to the tenets of your faith,” said Graham (R-SC), the chair of the committee. “But I hope people also understand that you have made a pledge to the committee and to the country at large that you will set aside whatever religious views you have when it comes time to decide the law.” 

Graham cited one of Barrett’s rulings in the Seventh Circuit, where she upheld a provision that limited protesting at abortion clinics. The South Carolina senator said that he was “highly confident” that she would “judge every American based on their case, not ‘the law of Amy.’” 

Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court, he said, markes “the first time in American history that we’ve nominated a woman who is unashamedly pro-life and embraces her faith without apology.” He said that Barrett’s confirmation to the Supreme Court would signal to other women of faith that there is “a seat at the table” for them in public life. 

“I have never been more proud of a nominee than I am of you,” said Graham.

Ranking minority member Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) followed Graham by asking Barrett about her legal reasoning and how she would approach the process of judicial legislative review.

The California senator asked Barrett to describe her views on severability, particularly as it related to the Affordable Care Act and if she agreed with the late Justice Antonin Scalia.  

“I think the doctrine of severability as it has been described by the court serves a valuable function of trying not to undo your work when you wouldn’t want a court to undo your work” said Barrett. She had previously described severability as a “Jenga game,” where the goal would be to remove provisions of the law without making the entire statue collapse 

“Severability strives to look at a statute as a whole and say ‘Would Congress had considered this provision so vital–that kind of in the Jenga game–pulling it out, Congress wouldn’t want the statute anymore?’,” Barrett explained. 

“It is designed to effectuate your intent, but, severability is designed to say ‘Well, would Congress want the statute to stand even with this provision gone? Would Congress still have passed the same statute without it?’” 

Barrett said that severability is the function of “the Court and Congress working hand-in hand.”

Feinstein said that this was “quite the definition” and that she was “very impressed” with Barrett’s reasoning.

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