The hearing of Amy Coney Barrett, who has nominated President Trump for the Supreme Court, began in the US Senate on Monday. Republicans are speeding up to endorse them before the November 3rd election.
The Democrats want to delay the process. They fear that the election result could be challenged legally, and then the constitutional court will decide in the last instance, in which the conservatives with the vote of Amy Barrett would win a clear predominance.
However, these assumptions are by no means certain: Can the ambitious timetable of confirming Barrett within 21 days work out? And is the expectation that a Trump nominee judge will decide in favor of Trump and the Republicans, supported by experience?
The committee hearing began with opposing opening speeches from the two camps. Republicans described Barrett as a top lawyer, praising her moral integrity, deep religiousness as a Catholic, and her sense of social responsibility.
Barrett has five biological children under the age of 20, including a son with Down syndrome and two adopted children, who are from Haiti. She found out about Down’s syndrome during pregnancy, but decided to have the baby.
The Democrats raised doubts about the hasty appointment process and Barrett’s party-political neutrality. In 2016, when a Supreme Court judge’s position became vacant following the death of Antonin Scalia in Barack Obama’s final year in office, Republicans argued that the newly elected president should determine the successor.
Barrett sees herself as an “originalist”
Now, after the death of the liberal judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg, they say conversely that incumbent Trump can decide, criticized Senate members of the Democrats. They described Barrett as an ideologist who was biased in disputes that come before the constitutional court – for example, the validity of the health reforms passed under Obama or the law on abortion.
Barrett sees herself as an “originalist” in her approach to justice. One should interpret the constitution of 1787 according to its wording and not read into it interpretations that the constitutional fathers did not have in mind according to the zeitgeist of the time, such as the right to sexual self-determination.
Bader Ginsburg was on the liberal side. If Barrett were to replace them, the Conservatives would have a permanent 6-3 majority, Liberals warn. Barrett will also, if the election result is challenged, decide out of loyalty to Trump in his interest.
The judicial committee would have to hold their hearing in record time and the Senate plenum would have to confirm it within three weeks. Theoretically, the Republicans have the necessary majority.
However, two of their 53 senators are against confirmation before election day, two more had been infected with corona at the nomination ceremony for Barrett in the rose garden of the White House, which prevents them from voting personally for the time being: Mike Lee from Utah and Thom Tillis from North Carolina. Lee showed up at the hearing on Monday that the Congressional doctor had allowed it, he said. Tillis only took part in the meeting virtually. He would have to be present to vote so that his vote is counted.
Constitutional judges are independent of parties
But even the assumption that Barrett and other constitutional judges will rule in legal matters in favor of the president who appointed them or his party does not have to be fulfilled. The Chairman of the Supreme Court John Roberts was nominated under Republican George W. Bush.
However, he has taken on Trump several times and helped the liberal camp to gain a majority in proceedings such as the conservative lawsuits against Obamacare and against the right of residence of illegally immigrated children. Conversely, Obama-appointed judge Elena Kagan has not sided with the Democrats in the majority of the disputes.
Constitutional judges are appointed for life and are independent of parties. Of course, you bring basic convictions into office. Clarence Thomas, the first African American to the Supreme Court, appointed by George Bush Senior in 1991, follows conservative legal principles, as does Samuel Alito, proposed by Bush Junior.
Bader Ginsburg, appointed by Bill Clinton, was progressive. Stephen Breyer, also nominated by Clinton, and Sonja Sotomayor, nominated by Obama, do the same. Sandra Day O’Connor, on the other hand, who was the first woman to come to court under Ronald Reagan, was to the disappointment of the Republicans for the “swing vote” that often supported the Liberals. The same was true of John Paul Stevens, who came to the Supreme Court in 1975 under Republican Gerald Ford.