Blumenthal warns Coney Barrett to watch her words, may ‘deter’ people away from contraceptives, invoke fear

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In what conceivably might be the most deranged moment thus far of Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation hearings, on Wednesday Sen. Richard Blumenthal warned the judge to watch her mouth, lest she make women who’re tuning into the hearing “feel afraid” of using contraceptives …

The remarkable moment happened as Blumenthal asked Barrett to share her “legal position” on several historical rulings, including Brown v. Board of Education, Loving v. Virginia, and Griswold v. Connecticut.

The judge was willing to offer her positions on Brown v. Board of Education and Loving v. Virginia because she’d already clarified them in her written works.

Whatever she “said in print, either my scholarly work or in judicial opinions, is fair game,” she explained.

However, she abstained from addressing Griswold v. Connecticut, a 1965 decision that protects the right of married couples to buy and use contraceptives, because it’s not something that she’d ever previously addressed. This bothered Blumenthal, and so he asked again, but this time he tossed in a stunning warning.

I’m asking your legal position. I want you to keep in mind how many people are listening and watching, because they may take a message from what you say. They may see what you say and be deterred from using contraceptives or may feel fear that it may be banned,” he said.

Listen to the back-and-forth exchange starting from the 6:40 mark below:

The judge replied by expressing confusion.

Well, Sen. Blumenthal, the position that I have taken is whether a question is easy or hard, that I can’t offer an answer to it, and I would be surprised if people were afraid that birth control is about to be criminalized,” she noted.

This prompted the senator to cite several examples of other justices past and present declaring their personal views on Griswold v. Connecticut.

“I’m stunned that you’re not willing to say an unequivocal yes, it was correctly decided, I would have been in the majority,” he then added.

The senator then proceeded to ask Barrett about another ruling, Lawrence v. Texas, that declared laws prohibiting homosexual sexual activity to be unconstitutional.

“I can’t grade precedent. … I can’t give a yes or no. … And my declining to give an answer doesn’t suggest agreement or disagreement,” the judge responded.

Every time you ask me a question about whether a case was correctly decided or not, I cannot answer that question because I cannot suggest agreement or disagreement with precedents of the Supreme Court. All of those precedents bind me now as a Seventh Circuit Judge, and were I to be confirmed I would be responsible for applying the law of stare decisis to all of them.”

For an explanation of “the law of stare decisis,” hit the play button below:

But instead of acknowledging the core principles cited by Barrett, Sen. Blumenthal chose to trot out an emotionally laden response.

“Think of how you would feel as a gay or lesbian American to hear that you can’t answer whether the government can make it a crime to have that relationship, whether the government can enable people who are happily married to continue that relationship,” he said.

It appears this was the final straw for Barrett, who clapped back by telling the senator that he was trying to convince her to violate her judicial code of ethics.

Implying that I’m poised to say I want to cast a vote to overrule Obergefell — and I assure you I don’t have any agenda, and I’m not even expressing a view of disagreement with Obergefell — you’re pushing me to try to violate the judicial canon of ethics and to offer advisory opinions, and I won’t do that,” she said.

She referenced Obergefell v. Hodges, the 2015 ruling that enshrines the right for gay couples to marry.

Blumenthal’s haranguing of Barrett comes as Democrats and their media allies continue to strive desperately to portray the judge as a “radical” who would single-handedly overturn every Supreme Court decision that was ostensibly aligned with Democrat principles.

The Connecticut senator has been especially guilty of this, going so far as to trot out blatant lies to impugn the judge’s image.

During Tuesday’s hearing, for instance, he claimed that she’d dissented in Kanter v. Barr — a 2019 ruling concerning the gun rights of convicted non-violent felons — by calling the majority decision “radical.”

But according to National Review, that was a lie.

“Nowhere in her dissent does Barrett write the word ‘radical,’ or offer any position approaching an admission that her well-reasoned dissent sounded extreme,” the news and commentary outlet notes.

“The quote is apparently from a student event at which Barrett spoke. It is extracted from a portion of her talk in which Coney seems to be reiterating that violent felons should not be able to own firearms — rather than the one Blumenthal was attempting to ascribe to her.”

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Vivek Saxena

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