Ns News Online Desk: US Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett has evaded questions about her views on key issues on day two of her Senate confirmation hearing. The conservative judge repeatedly refused to be drawn on abortion, healthcare and LGBTQ rights. She stated she had “no agenda” and vowed to stick to “the rule of law”.
If Judge Barrett passes the committee hearing, the full Senate will vote to confirm or reject her for a lifelong place on the top US court. Republicans want the confirmation ahead of the presidential election on 3 November. It would give the nine-member court a 6-3 conservative majority, altering the ideological balance of the court for potentially decades to come.
Democrats fear Judge Barrett’s successful nomination would favor Republicans in politically sensitive cases that reach the Supreme Court. She is the proposed replacement for liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died last month aged 87.
On Tuesday, Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Lindsay Graham, a Republican, said she was “one of the greatest picks President Trump could make” for the court, while Senator Chuck Grassley, a fellow Republican, said her record showed she would approach each case in an “unbiased” way.
Republicans hold a slim majority in the US Senate, the body that confirms Supreme Court judges, making Judge Barrett’s nomination very likely to pass.
Democrats fear her as a threat to issues such as the healthcare reforms passed under former President Barack Obama. They have criticized the rushed nomination process as “reckless” and a “sham”, amid a coronavirus pandemic that has killed 215,000 people in the US.
They have also accused Republicans of hypocrisy. In March 2016, when Mr Obama, a Democrat, put forward a nominee to fill a spot on the court, the Senate Republicans refused to hold hearings, arguing the decision should not be made in an election year.Tuesday is the first of two days of direct questioning from senators on the deeply divided Judiciary Committee. On Monday the judge explained her legal philosophy and qualifications for the position.
Democratic senators are scrutinizing her conservative views and decisions she has delivered as a judge on the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Much of her record could be seen to be in opposition to the philosophy of the late Justice Ginsburg.