Why Sen. Mike Lee says Barrett would be evenhanded Supreme Court justice

Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, questions Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett during the third day of her confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington on Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020. | Greg Nash, Associated Press

SALT LAKE CITY — Republicans, including Utah Sen. Mike Lee, portrayed Judge Amy Coney Barrett as fair and open-minded at her Supreme Court confirmation hearing Wednesday, while Democrats say there is a cloud hanging over her nomination because of writings about health care and other issues.

Lee cited several cases on the Chicago-based 7th Circuit Court of Appeals where he said Barrett followed the law as written rather than rule based on an external objective.

“I’ve got some colleagues on the other side of the aisle who seem to want to focus on statements made in your personal capacity and in your capacity as a private citizen and a member of your faith instead of actually cases dealing with abortion,” he said.

“I have a hunch that this is because your record on the 7th Circuit actually shows that you’re able to set aside your personal convictions because that’s what you’ve done when they’ve conflicted with your duty under the rule of law.”

Barrett faced a second and final round of questions from members of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday. The panel will question a series of witnesses on Thursday before voting next week whether to advance President Donald Trump’s nominee to the full Senate.

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., congratulated Barrett for being the first Supreme Court nominee to be considered in the midst of an election.

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“The obvious question is why. What’s the hurry?” he asked. “Well, because there is a political agenda here, and whether you are privy to it, part of it notwithstanding, it has to do with the Affordable Care Act.”

Republicans and the Trump administration, Durbin said, need a ninth justice by Nov. 10 to keep their promise to end the health care law.

“Unfortunately, that is the cloud, the orange cloud, over your nomination,” he said.

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said Democrats are using scare tactics and distortions to frame Barrett as a threat to Obamacare based on an article she wrote criticizing Chief Justice John Roberts’ opinion in the case. The hearing, he said, is about Barrett’s qualifications to serve on the Supreme Court.

“It’s not about health care advocacy,” he said.

Lee said in addition to putting aside her personal convictions when deciding a case, Barrett has shown the ability to “expertly” determine what the law requires.

A Congressional Research Service review of her cases on the appeals court found her decisions don’t follow any overarching trend toward expanding or narrowing Fourth Amendment protections against illegal searches and seizure, he said.

“This is exactly what I would expect from a textualist-originalist on an issue that, like the Fourth Amendment, can actually be politically charged,” Lee said.

Barrett, he said, came down on the side of the government in some cases and for the defendant in others.

Lee also pointed to Barrett joining the 7th Circuit …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Utah News


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