Throughout the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings this week, Amy Coney Barrett repeatedly refused to respond to questions about securing the integrity of our elections as her record brings her impartiality into question and Republicans race to push through her confirmation in case voting litigation comes before the court.
Barrett repeatedly refused to answer questions about whether Trump can unilaterally delay the election — he can’t.
Vox: “Amy Coney Barrett Refused To Say If Trump Can Delay The Election. The Correct Answer Is He Can’t.”
FEINSTEIN: “Does the Constitution give the president of the United States the authority to unilaterally delay a general election under any circumstances? Does federal law?” BARRETT: “Well senator, if that question ever came before me I would need to hear arguments from the litigants and read briefs and consult with my law clerks and talk to my colleagues and go through the opinion writing process.”
Washington Post: “Trump Can’t Delay The Election, Experts Say.”
Barrett refused to answer when asked whether Trump should commit to a peaceful transfer of power.
BOOKER: “Do you believe that every president should make a commitment, unequivocally and resolutely, to the peaceful transfer of power?” BARRETT: “Well senator, that seems to me to be pulling me in a little bit into this question of whether the president has said that he would not peacefully leave office, and so to the extent that this is a political controversy right now, as a judge I want to stay out of it, and I don’t want to express a view on…”
Barrett refused to say whether it is illegal to intimidate voters at the polls.
KLOBUCHAR: “Is it illegal to intimidate voters at the polls?” BARRETT: “Sen. Klobuchar, I can’t characterize the facts of a hypothetical situation, and I can’t apply the law to a hypothetical set of facts. I can only decide cases as they come to me litigated by parties on a full record after fully engaging precedent, talking to colleagues, writing an opinion, and so I can’t answer questions like that.”
The Nation: “When Klobuchar followed up with the actual federal statute prohibiting voter intimidation, Barrett still wouldn’t say that voter intimidation is illegal. These were softball questions. It takes nothing for a nominee to support the basic concept of the rule of law. It takes nothing for a judge to say, ‘That statute, which you just read to me, is good law, Senator.’”
If confirmed, Barrett would be the third justice to have been involved in Bush v. Gore — all of whom worked on the Republican side.
KLOBUCHAR: “I think the public has a right to know that now three of these justices have worked on the Republican side on a major, major issue related to a presidential election.”
Barrett’s prior work on Bush v. Gore raises questions about her ability to be impartial in election-related litigation.
National Law Journal: “Barrett worked on Bush v. Gore as an associate at Baker Botts. She was on location in Florida for a week, working with Stuart Levey, the former Baker Botts partner who is now chief legal officer at HSBC. Baker Botts’s James Baker was counsel to George W. Bush’s presidential campaign, and the firm represented the GOP candidate in the Bush v. Gore litigation stemming from the 2000 recount in Florida. Barrett, according to her Senate questionnaire, provided research and briefing assistance ‘at the outset of litigation’ in Florida courts.” [National Law Journal, 6/29/18]
DURBIN: “Please provide a complete answer to Question 17. To the extent you may no longer have complete records of litigation matters you handled, please provide at least ‘a capsule summary of the substance of each case’ and a description of ‘the nature of your participation in the litigation’ per the instructions in Question 17.” BARRETT: “My response to Question 17 of the Senate Judiciary Committee Questionnaire is complete as filed with the Committee. As I explained in my answer, ‘Although I worked on many litigation matters during my time as an associate at Miller Cassidy and then Baker Botts, I no longer have records of the matters upon which I worked. I recall only three significant litigated matters that I personally handled.’”
Trump and Republicans are pushing to confirm a new justice before Election Day in case voting-related litigation comes before the court.
ABC News: “President Trump says he is so keen on having his yet-to-be-announced Supreme Court nominee confirmed by Election Day in part so that the justice would be on the bench to vote on any legal disputes related to the election. ‘We need nine justices. You need that,’ Trump told reporters Tuesday, as he went on to stoke baseless claims that the election will be rife with fraud. ‘With the unsolicited millions of ballots that they’re sending, it’s a scam; it’s a hoax. Everybody knows that. And the Democrats know it better than anybody else. So you’re going to need nine justices up there. I think it’s going to be very important. Because what they’re doing is a hoax, with the ballots.’”
Nexstar Media News: “Republican officials and candidates across 20 states are urging the Senate to quickly confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the United States Supreme Court ahead of the November 3 general election. Their message comes in the form of a letter from Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill that will be sent to Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. Our Washington D.C. Bureau reports it will be made public Monday. A majority of the lawmakers who signed the letter are their state’s chief election officer. ‘In the case an election issue is challenged in court, America cannot afford a tie vote,’ Merrill writes in the letter. ‘Election results must be reported in a timely, secure, and efficient manner. Confirming Judge Barrett ensures we, as election officials, will be able to successfully administer the General Election without hindrance.’”
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