clearn.png
Thursday November 26th, 2020 9:02PM

Takeaways: Pardon power, silent mics on Barrett's final day

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

WASHINGTON (AP) — Health care again played a starring role in Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett's confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee as Democrats sought to highlight an issue they want voters to consider on Election Day.

During Wednesday's hearing, Barrett maintained her view that it would be inappropriate to comment on the national health care law or other cases that may come before her as a justice. She also declined to say whether a president can pardon himself.

Republicans appeared undeterred and likely successful in their effort to have Barrett confirmed before the election, just three weeks away.

Takeaways from Day 3 of the hearing:

FILLING A SEAT IN TIME FOR ‘OBAMACARE’ CASE

Democrats noted that Trump has made clear he wishes to undo the Affordable Care Act, saying Trump and Senate Republicans are rushing to confirm Barrett so she can be seated in time to hear a case next month challenging that ‘Obamacare’ law.

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said there’s an “orange cloud” hanging over Barrett's nomination — a political jab at Trump's tan and a reference to the president's oft-stated wish to overturn the law.

Barrett told senators she is not “hostile” to the law and promised to consider all arguments.

Republicans played down the threat to the health law posed by the court case. “This hearing has been more about Obamacare than it has you,'' the committee chairman, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., told Barrett. He added: “Obamacare is on the ballot'' next month.

Republicans object to the health law because “it was written and passed on a partisan line,'' Graham said. ”Most big changes in society have more buy-in (from the public and the two political parties) than that. You’re talking about one-fifth of the American economy.''

Still, Graham and other Republicans stressed that even if parts of the law were struck down, important aspects such as coverage for preexisting conditions could still be preserved, under a concept known as severability. “The doctrine of severability presumes — and its goal is — to preserve (key parts of) the statute if that is possible,'' Graham said.

Barrett agreed, saying, "The presumption is always in favor of severability.''

Republicans have introduced bills to protect Americans with preexisting conditions and bring down drug prices, said Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa. "And if we act, (voters) don’t have to worry about you doing away with preexisting conditions in some future case down the road,'' he told Barrett.

___

NO ONE IS ABOVE THE LAW

On another issue where Trump's views and tweets are well-known, Barrett declined to say whether a president can pardon himself. But she said she agrees no one is above the law.

Under questioning from Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., Barrett said the question of a self-pardon has never come before the court. “That question may or may not arise, but it is one that calls for a legal analysis of what the scope of the pardon power is,'' Barrett said. She said offering an opinion now ”would be opining on an open question ... it’s not one in which I can offer a view.''

Multiple investigations are looking into Trump’s taxes, his businesses and his associates, and he has said he has “an absolute right” to pardon himself.

While declining to address whether Trump would be able to pardon himself, Barrett said she agreed with Leahy’s assertion that “no one is above the law.”

___

NO PREVIEW OF JUDICIAL VIEWS

For the second straight day, Barrett repeatedly declined to give her personal views, or to preview how she might rule, on issues that could become before the court. Like other Supreme Court nominees, Barrett said she was prohibited from expressing those opinions by the “canons of judicial conduct.”

In addition to a possible presidential self-pardon and whether to overturn the health law, Barrett said she could not give an opinion on whether she would withdraw from any election-related litigation involving Trump. He said when he nominated her that he wanted the full nine justices in place before any possible election decisions.

Barrett also said she can't express a view on climate change because it is a “very contentious matter of public policy.” Under questioning from Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., the party's vice presidential nominee, Barrett called climate change “politically controversial,” adding that discussion of the issue is "inconsistent with the judicial role as I have explained.''

Scientists say climate change is caused by people burning fossil fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas and is worsening sharply. Parched lands in the American West are getting drier and suffering deadly wildfires, while the much wetter East keeps getting drenched in hurricanes and other mega-rainfall events. Climate change is magnifying both extremes.

___

BREAKTHROUGH FOR CONSERVATIVE WOMEN

Graham opened Wednesday’s hearing by proclaiming Barrett’s expected confirmation a historic victory for conservative women. Like “conservatives of color,’’ conservative women, he said, are often “marginalized” in public life.

“This hearing, to me, is an opportunity to not punch through a glass ceiling but a reinforced concrete barrier around conservative women,’’ Graham told Barrett. “You are going to shatter that barrier.’’

Graham said he has “never been more proud of a nominee” than he is of Barrett, a federal appeals court judge from Indiana. “This is the first time in American history that we’ve nominated a woman who is unashamedly pro-life and embraces her faith without apology, and she is going to the court. This is history being made, folks.’’

Barrett has declined to say how she would rule on a challenge to the Roe v. Wade decision that established abortion rights, but she has made clear she opposes abortion rights and signed a 2006 letter objecting to “abortion on demand.”

___

SHIFTING THE SUPREME COURT BALANCE

Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., asked Barrett whether she would acknowledge that her confirmation would mean a shift to the right on the Supreme Court that would have “profound” implications.

Coons referred to an interview that Barrett gave where she spoke of a balance shift if Merrick Garland, a federal appeals court judge nominated in 2016 by President Barack Obama, were elevated to the high court. Obama picked Garland after Justice Antonin Scalia's death, but Republicans in the Senate refused give Garland a hearing, citing the presidential election that was months away that year.

Barrett told Coons she was referring in the interview to Garland’s judicial approach, not his more liberal views. Unlike the conservative Scalia, Garland was not an originalist, which refers to a way of interpreting the Constitution that focuses on the text and Founding Fathers’ intentions in resolving legal disputes.

“It would be away from one balance and toward another in terms of how judges think about the text,″ said Barrett, who like Scalia is an originalist.

Coons noted that Barrett, who claims Scalia as her mentor, would replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who was not an originalist and was the court’s liberal leader. Barrett's confirmation would shift the court’s previous 5-4 conservative majority to 6-3.

Americans need to better understand the originalist philosophy, Coons said, “because I think it means our entire modern understanding of certain constitutional commitments around liberty, privacy and equality under the law could, in fact, be rolled back to 19th or even 18th century understandings in a way unrecognizable to most Americans.''

___

SOUNDS OF SILENCE

The hearing paused twice Wednesday because of audio problems in the Dirksen Senate Office Building. The sound in the hearing room cut out a little before 2 p.m. and was off for 40 minutes. It cut out again after the hearing resumed, this time for about 15 minutes.

The problem happened the first time just after Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., asked Barrett whether she had gotten some rest after a long day of questioning Tuesday. "I did have a glass of wine. I’ll tell you, I needed that at the end of the day,” she said.

On that point, “You have a right to remain silent,'' Blumenthal told Barrett.

___

Associated Press writer Colleen Long contributed to this report.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP Online Supreme Court News, AP Elections, General Election News, General Presidential Election News, AP Business, AP Elections - Political Conventions
© Copyright 2020 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
US Senate high stakes spur astronomical spending in Montana
Political groups fighting for control of the U.S. Senate have poured more than $118 million into the contest between Montana’s Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock and Republican incumbent Steve Daines
4:01PM ( 7 minutes ago )
Takeaways: Pardon power, silent mics on Barrett's final day
Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett is facing second day of questions from the Senate Judiciary Committee as Democrats keep the focus on health care three weeks before the Nov. 3 election
3:52PM ( 16 minutes ago )
The Latest: France sets curfew, restores state of emergency
President Emmanuel Macron announced that 18 million French citizens in nine regions, including in Paris, will have a curfew starting Saturday through Dec. 1
3:42PM ( 26 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Barrett tells doubtful Dems she'd keep open mind on court
Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett is presenting herself as a judge with deeply held personal and religious beliefs, but one who vows to keep an “open mind” on cases coming to the court
3:11PM ( 57 minutes ago )
Trump tries to shore up support from big business, Iowans
President Donald Trump is trying to shore up support from constituencies that not so long ago he thought he had in the bag: big business and voters in the red state of Iowa
2:49PM ( 1 hour ago )
Takeaways: Barrett tells senators 'no one is above the law'
Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett is facing second day of questions from the Senate Judiciary Committee as Democrats keep the focus on health care three weeks before the Nov. 3 election
2:42PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
Kyrgyzstan president weighs resignation in talks with new PM
Kyrgyzstan’s embattled president has discussed his possible resignation with his newly appointed prime minister in a bid to end the political crisis in the Central Asian country after a disputed parliamentary election
11:48AM ( 4 hours ago )
The Latest: Durbin says 'orange cloud' on Barrett nomination
Sen. Dick Durbin says there’s an “orange cloud” hanging over the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court
11:10AM ( 4 hours ago )
White woman charged in racist NYC run-in made a 2nd 911 call
Prosecutors say the white woman charged with filing a false police report for calling 911 during a videotaped dispute with a Black man in New York’s Central Park in May made a second, previously unreported call
11:07AM ( 5 hours ago )
AP Online Congress News
Barrett bats away tough Democratic confirmation probing
Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett spent a long day and evening batting back Democrats' tough questioning at her Senate confirmation hearings
10:51PM ( 17 hours ago )
The Latest: Day 2 of Barrett confirmation hearings wraps
The second day of confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett is finished after nearly 12 hours
8:29PM ( 19 hours ago )
The Latest: Barrett steers clear of transfer of power issue
President Donald Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court is declining to get involved in the question of whether the president should commit to a peaceful transfer of power if the election doesn’t go his way
6:13PM ( 21 hours ago )
AP Online Supreme Court News
St. Louis couple who waved guns at protest plead not guilty
A St. Louis couple celebrated in some circles and vilified in others for waving guns at protesters near their home have pleaded not guilty to two felony charges
3:00PM ( 1 hour ago )
Fighting in swing states, Trump also forced to play defense
President Donald Trump is being forced to play Electoral College defense with a trip to Iowa, a state he won handily in 2016 but where Democrat Joe Biden is making a late push
12:02PM ( 4 hours ago )
Federal judge extends Virginia voter registration deadline
A federal judge has extended Virginia's voter registration deadline by 48 hours after an accidentally severed cable shut down the state's online portal
10:45AM ( 5 hours ago )
AP Elections
Trump, Biden zero in on swing states that are key to victory
With Election Day just three weeks away, President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden are concentrating on battleground states both see as critical to clinching an Electoral College victory
8:53PM ( 19 hours ago )
Cut cable shuts down Virginia voter portal; lawsuit filed
A severed fiber optic cable that shut down Virginia's online voter registration system has prompted a lawsuit from a civil rights organization
8:37PM ( 19 hours ago )
Trips by Trump, Biden illustrate calculations on voting map
With Election Day just three weeks away, President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden are concentrating on battleground states both see as critical to clinching an Electoral College victory
7:26PM ( 20 hours ago )
General Election News
Bloomberg gives $500,000 to juice Dem turnout in Miami-Dade
Billionaire former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg is donating $500,000 to juice Democratic turnout in Miami-Dade County
2:57PM ( 1 day ago )
What you need to know about Ohio drop box restrictions
How many drop boxes can each Ohio county set up for collecting absentee ballots cast in the November presidential election, and where can they be located
2:50PM ( 1 day ago )
The Latest: Biden says Obama is 'doing enough' for campaign
Joe Biden says former President Barack Obama “will be out on the trail” and is “doing well.”
2:04PM ( 1 day ago )
General Presidential Election News
Video indicates slain protester was upset about being filmed
Video from a Denver television station shows that a pro-police demonstrator who was fatally shot by a security guard hired by the station was apparently angry that he was being filmed as he argued with another man just seconds before the shooting
3:14PM ( 55 minutes ago )
Europe Today: Closing schools is latest front in virus fight
European countries are lurching for solutions to stem the resurgence of the coronavirus in hopes of avoiding another round of total lockdowns
3:06PM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: France's Macron to reinstate state of emergency
President Emmanuel President Macron’s office says France will restore a state of health emergency that expired three months ago
2:49PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Business
Barrett tells senators she's not Scalia, but her own judge
Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett is telling senators she takes a strict approach to the Constitution
9:56AM ( 1 day ago )
Barrett facing senators on health care, legal precedent
Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett is facing senators’ questions for the first time during confirmation hearings
9:14AM ( 1 day ago )
Barrett to face senators on health care, legal precedent
Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett is set to face senators’ questions during a second day of confirmation hearings
12:08AM ( 1 day ago )
AP Elections - Political Conventions
US Senate high stakes spur astronomical spending in Montana
Political groups fighting for control of the U.S. Senate have poured more than $118 million into the contest between Montana’s Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock and Republican incumbent Steve Daines
4:01PM ( 8 minutes ago )
The Latest: France sets curfew, restores state of emergency
President Emmanuel Macron announced that 18 million French citizens in nine regions, including in Paris, will have a curfew starting Saturday through Dec. 1
3:42PM ( 26 minutes ago )
UK's COVID-19 strategy unraveling as regions choose own path
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s new strategy for combating COVID-19 appears to have unraveled as regional leaders chose their own paths and the mayors of the cities facing the toughest restrictions accused Johnson of using the crisis to divide them for political advantage
3:38PM ( 30 minutes ago )
The Latest: Audio difficulties force pauses in court hearing
The confirmation hearing for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett paused for about 40 minutes because of audio difficulties
3:25PM ( 43 minutes ago )
Vision 2020: Will mailed-in ballots be delivered on time?
Can you trust the U.S. Postal Service to deliver your ballot on time
3:24PM ( 44 minutes ago )