7 moments that stood out on second day of Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation hearings

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The second day of Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Court confirmation hearings is now in the books and while the process is far from over it’s been smooth sailing so far for the mother of seven who sits on the Seventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The highlight of the day may have been that even though the Democratic senators on the Senate Judiciary Committee were hostile, they were almost civil, considering the low bar they set with Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh — count this as No. 1.

 

2. ACB impresses all by taking on Democrats with no notes

Aside from that, one of the key moments of the day happened early on when Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, asked Barrett to hold up what appeared to be notes before her.

Holding up a blank pad, Cornyn asked if there was anything written on it and Barrett replied, “The letterhead that says United States Senate.”

 

Quite an impressive feat, given that the judge fully understands that she’s in a room full of Democratic senators who are not too happy about her replacing the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Her brilliance stands out even more when considering that the last three Supreme Court nominees all used pages and pages of notes.

3. Reaction to George Floyd’s death one of ACB’s ‘best moments’

Another compelling moment came when Barrett revealed that George Floyd’s death was “very personal” for her family and they cried over the video of his encounter with Minneapolis police.

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., asked Barrett if she had seen the video and what impact it had on her.

“Senator, as you might imagine, given that I have two black children, that was very, very personal for my family,” she answered — Barrett and her husband adopted two children from Haiti.

“Jesse was with the boys on a camping trip out in South Dakota, so I was there, and my 17-year-old daughter Vivian, who was adopted from Haiti, all of this was erupting. It was very difficult for her. We wept together in my room,” Barrett said.

“My children, to this point in their lives, have had the benefit of growing up in a cocoon where they have not yet experienced hatred or violence,” she added. “And for Vivian, to understand that there would be a risk to her brother or the sons she might have one day, of that kind of brutality, has been an ongoing conversation.”

4. ACB cites “Ginsburg rule”

Barrett raised a few eyebrows among the Democrats when she cited the “Ginsburg rule” in refusing to engage in hypotheticals.

Sen Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., ranking member on the Judiciary Committee, asked Barrett if she agrees with the late Justice Antonin Scalia’s view that the Constitution does not guarantee a right to gay marriage.

“I’m not going to express a view on whether I agree or disagree with Justice Scalia for the same reasons that I’ve been giving,” Barrett said. “Justice Ginsburg with her characteristic pithiness used this to describe how a nominee should comport herself at a hearing: no hints, no previews, no forecasts. That has been the practice of nominees before her, but everybody calls it the ‘Ginsburg Rule’ because she stated it so concisely and it’s been the practice of every nominee since.”

At the age of 87, Feinstein has clearly lost her fastball, but Barrett made it a practice all day long not to take the bait from Democrats.

5. ACB declares Roe v. Wade not a “super precedent”

An exchange with Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., also raised eyebrows, as the judge stated that Roe v. Wade was not a “super precedent,” which is a cases so well settled that overruling it is out of the question.

Barrett cited cases like Brown v. Board of Education, which banned segregation in schools.

“I’m answering a lot of questions about Roe, which I think indicates that Roe doesn’t fall into that category,” the nominee said.

6. ACB’s moving response to being nominated

Social media was moved by Barrett’s response when Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.,  chairman of the Judiciary Committee, asked her how it feels to be nominated for the Supreme Court of the United States.

“Well Senator, I’ve tried to be on a media blackout for the sake of my mental health,” she replied. “But, you know, you can’t keep yourself walled off from everything. And I’m aware of a lot of the caricatures that are floating around.”

Barrett acknowledged that it was an “excruciating process” that takes a toll on her family.

“I don’t think it’s any secret to any of you or to the American people that this is a really difficult, some might say excruciating, process and Jesse and I had a very brief amount of time to make a decision with momentous consequences for our family,” she said, referencing her husband.

“We knew that our lives would be combed over for any negative detail, we knew that our faith would be caricatured, we knew that our family would be attacked,” Barrett added.

7. Bizarre moment of the day belongs to Sen. Mazie Hirono

Not surprisingly, the bizarre moment of the day came when Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, asked Barrett if she was a sexual predator.

“Since you became a legal adult, have you ever made unwanted requests for sexual favors, or committed any physical or verbal harassment or assault of a sexual nature?” Hirono asked.

Upon Barrett answering no, the Democrat then asked, “Have you ever faced discipline or entered into a settlement related to this kind of conduct?”

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Tom Tillison

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