Live Updates of Amy Coney Barrett Confirmation Hearing

In her introductory statement, Judge Barrett spoke at length about her family life as a mother of seven and her years of work as a law professor at Notre Dame.

Her story touched on many of the points Republicans sought to emphasize throughout the day on Monday, including her popularity among students, her publications in prestigious law journals and her ability to balance her work with her family.

In questioning Judge Barrett over the coming days, Republicans are likely to continue building a profile of the nominee as an accomplished legal scholar inappropriately scrutinized by Democrats for her personal values.

In doing so, they are likely to invite Judge Barrett to speak about her role as a mentor and a teacher, and as a mother to a large family that includes two adopted children. The approach will allow Senate Republicans, whose majority is at risk, to appeal to women and independent voters whose backing their candidates need to win re-election.

While Republicans may look to flesh out her biography by asking about Judge Barrett’s judicial experience as a circuit court judge since 2017, they appear more likely to focus on her much longer professional history as an academic, rather than her judicial philosophy or interpretation of the law.

Democrats are expected to focus more on the implications of confirming Judge Barrett than on criticizing her directly.

In opening statements on Monday, Democrats denounced the hearing as an attempt by Republicans to rush through a nominee who would shift the ideological balance of the Supreme Court to the right, jeopardizing the health care law. Many came equipped with photographs and back stories of constituents who have depended on the law during the pandemic, questioning what future they would face if a conservative majority overturned the statute when it goes before the court the week after Election Day.

Democrats want to avoid attacking Judge Barrett’s character, which happened during the confirmation hearings for Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh in 2018. They are also steering clear of talking about the nominee’s Catholic faith, which some Democrats made an issue during her confirmation hearing for an appeals court seat in 2017.

Republicans spent the first day of the proceeding charging that Democrats’ opposition to Judge Barrett reflected anti-religious bias, although no Democrat mentioned or alluded to her faith.

With Democrats all but conceding that Judge Barrett’s confirmation is inevitable, much of the questioning is likely to be colored by the broader political climate in which the confirmation process is taking place.

Democrats plan to use their time to ask Judge Barrett about her views on access to health care, a theme that helped them win the House majority in the 2018 midterm elections, and abortion rights, in an effort to emphasize the stakes of her confirmation for independent voters and women.

While Democrats may press Judge Barrett to speak about her conservative opinions, their questions are likely to be fruitless, as most past nominees have declined to answer questions about how they may vote in the future.

They are also expected to continue to argue that the hearing is diverting attention and resources from the current public health crisis, as lawmakers have failed to pass new legislation that could provide economic relief.

The pandemic’s impact will be felt inside the hearing room in more literal ways as well. Senator Thom Tillis, Republican of North Carolina, who tested positive less than two weeks ago, is expected to make his return to the hearing room to question Judge Barrett in person after he said he was cleared by his person doctor on Tuesday to resume in-person activities. Senator Mike Lee, Republican of Utah, who had also tested positive, returned on Monday.




Amy Coney Barrett Hearing: Day 1 Highlights

The Senate began four days of what are likely to be contentious Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Judge Amy Coney Barrett.

“This is probably not about persuading each other. Unless something really dramatic happens, all Republicans will vote ‘yes’ and all Democrats will vote ‘no.’” “Do you solemnly swear that the testimony you’re about to give this committee is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God?” “I do.” “Voting is underway in 40 states. Senate Republicans are pressing forward, full speed ahead, to consolidate a court that will carry their policies forward with, I hope, some review for the will of the American people.” “Democrats and their leftist allies have also shown that there is no low that they won’t stoop to in their crusade to tarnish a nominee. And I saw it all as chairman of this committee when Kavanaugh came up.” “With one stroke of a pen, one judge can decide if millions of Americans, including their family, would lose their insurance. One judge can decide if millions of Americans can lose their right to keep their kids on their insurance till they’re 26 years old. One judge can decide that if seniors’ prescription drugs, which already are too high, could soar even higher.” “Senator Klobuchar said a number of things about Covid that I agree with. She cited a bunch of really painful stories in Minnesota, and similar stories could be told from across the country. I even agree with parts of her criticism of the mismanagement of Covid by Washington D.C. I don’t know what any of that has to do with what we’re here to do today. Huge parts of what we’re doing in this hearing would be really confusing to eighth graders, if civics classes across the country tuned into this hearing and tried to figure out what we’re here to do.” “I’m not special or unique. Serious illness can hit anyone unexpectedly. It did for me. And when it does, no one should have to worry about whether they can afford care that might save their life.” “Your participation — let me be very blunt — in any case involving Donald Trump’s election would immediately do explosive, enduring harm to the court’s legitimacy and to your own credibility. You must recuse yourself. The American people are afraid, and they’re angry.” “But what your political opponents want to paint you as is a TV or cartoon version of a religious radical, a so-called handmaid, that feeds into all of the ridiculous stereotypes they have set out to lambaste people of faith in America. And that’s wrong.” “Senate Republicans have made it crystal clear that rushing a Supreme Court nomination is more important than helping and supporting the American people, who are suffering from a deadly pandemic and a devastating economic crisis. Their priorities are not the American people’s priorities.” “I look forward to answering the committee’s questions over the coming days. I try to remain mindful that while my court decides thousands of cases a year, each case is the most important one to the litigants involved. After all, cases are not like statutes which are often named for their authors. Cases are named for the parties who stand to gain or lose in the real world, often through their liberty or livelihood. When I write an opinion resolving a case, I read every word from the perspective of the losing party. I have been nominated to fill Justice Ginsburg’s seat, but no one will ever take her place. I will be forever grateful for the path she marked and the life she led.”

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The Senate began four days of what are likely to be contentious Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Judge Amy Coney Barrett.CreditCredit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

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