By LIBBY CATHEY, ABC News
(WASHINGTON) — The high-stakes confirmation hearings for Judge Amy Coney Barrett, President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, continue Tuesday.
Senate Republicans continue their push for a final vote before Election Day despite Democratic calls to let voters decide who should pick a new justice.
Trump nominated Barrett to fill the seat left by the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
The four days of Senate Judiciary Committee hearings, overseen by Chairman Lindsey Graham, are unprecedented, with some members participating virtually and in-person. Barrett is appearing at the witness table to face questions.
Hearings begin at 9 a.m. each day and will be live streamed on ABC News Live.
In opening statements Monday, Democrats argued the nomination puts the health care of millions of Americans at risk amid an ongoing pandemic and some called on Barrett to recuse herself from any presidential election-related cases. Republicans, who say they already have the votes to confirm Trump’s pick, defended Barrett’s Roman Catholic faith from attacks which have yet to surface from inside the hearing room.
Barrett, 48, was a law clerk to conservative Justice Antonin Scalia and follows his originalist interpretation of the Constitution. She practiced law at a Washington firm for two years before returning to her alma mater, Notre Dame Law School, to teach. She was nominated by Trump in 2017 to the Seventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and confirmed by the Senate in a 55-43 vote.
Here’s how the news is developing Tuesday. All times Eastern:
Oct 13, 9:23 am
Barrett lays out originalist interpretation of the law
Graham posed the first question to Barrett, asking her about her judicial philosophy, giving Barrett the opportunity to share her view that the courts are not meant to right every wrong in society.
“You said you are an originalist, is that true? What does that mean in English?” he asked.
“In English,” Barrett began, “that means that I interpret the Constitution as a law, that I interpret its text as text, and the meaning doesn’t change over time and it is not up to me to update it or infuse my own policy views into it.”
Asked about what she would say to people who call her a “female Scalia,” Barrett said while he was her mentor, she is not him.
“I would say that Justice Scalia was a mentor. As I said when I accepted the president’s nomination that his philosophy is mine, too. He was a very eloquent defender of originalism and it was also true of textualism, which is the way that I approach statutes and their interpretation and similarly to what I just said about originalism,” she said.
“If I’m confirmed, you would not be getting Justice Scalia, you would be getting Justice Barrett,” she said.
Oct 13, 9:21 am
Senators appear virtually and in-person as questioning kicks off
The first question and answer round in the confirmation hearings for Judge Barrett has kicked off in the Senate Judiciary Committee with Chairman Graham opening the proceedings.
Barrett, who wore a black mask for five hours Monday, took it off at the witness table in anticipation for the rapid-fire round.
Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., who appeared virtually Monday due to his recent COVID-19 diagnosis, appeared in-person Tuesday with what he said was clearance from his personal physician. Tillis joins Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, who also recently tested positive for COVID-19, inside the hearing room.
Democrats on Monday used their opening statements to highlight the stakes of Barrett’s confirmation — which would give conservatives a 6-3 majority on the Supreme Court and potentially imperil elements of the Affordable Care Act, as a challenge to the Obama-era law is scheduled to come before the court in November.
Republicans repeatedly returned to Barrett’s Catholic faith, launching a pre-emptive strike against Democrats potentially criticizing her on the grounds of her religion.
Barrett’s family, as they did Monday, took seats in the audience.
Oct 13, 8:58 am
Barrett arrives on Capitol Hill
Barrett arrived on Capitol Hill about 8:30 a.m. Tuesday with her children and extended family following in a line behind her.
The first question and answer round in the confirmation hearings for Judge Barrett will kick off shortly in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Oct 13, 8:24 am
Breakdown for Day 2
Senators will have the opportunity to grill Judge Barrett Tuesday on her judicial philosophy in what is expected to be a marathon question and answer session. Committee aides tell ABC News to expect the day to last between nine and 12 hours.
All 22 members of the Senate Judiciary Committee are allotted 30 minutes each to question the nominee in the first round, making the total run time 11 hours — but Graham may decide to break up round one of questioning into Wednesday.
Graham will give an introduction and swear in Barrett around 9 a.m. to begin the hearing.
Democrats are expected to press Trump’s nominee on the Affordable Care Act and the precedent of Roe. v. Wade.
Oct 13, 7:35 am
Barrett’s friend and colleague: Be careful about ‘too many assumptions’
Nicole Garnett, a friend and colleague of Judge Barrett who has known her since they both served as law clerks for Supreme Court justices, said Barrett has the qualifications and characteristics that will make her an “amazing justice.”
“She’s got a great legal mind, she’s a person of great character, a person of humility, she’s kind to everyone, she’s compassionate, she impresses everybody, she works harder than everybody else,” Garnett said during an interview on ABC News Live.
Garnett, a law professor at the University of Notre Dame, had just started a clerkship with Justice Clarence Thomas in 1998 when she met Barrett, who was clerking for Justice Antonin Scalia.
Barrett has said her philosophy is that of Scalia’s, which is to apply the law as written as she sees it — but Garnett warned that the public “should really be careful before we make too many assumptions about people based on the party of the president who nominated them.”
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