Republican’s long wait comes to an end as the Senate Judiciary Committee will start the hearing of Judge Amy Coney Barret’s confirmation on Monday. Republicans are pushing the quick confirmation of Barrett before presidential elections. They believe that the election result might be contested in the Supreme Court and a conservative majority of 6-3 will ensure that Trump retains the presidency. The confirmation will also boost the campaign of Republican senators as it courts conservative votes.
The GOP session will be held partly in person and partly over video conferencing. Few crucial members are tested positive for COVID-19. They will participate remotely. There are some key Senators over the Committee who have the calibre to turn things in their Party’s favour
Highly contentious hearing
The confirmation process is going to be a highly contentious issue because important issues like abortion rights and the Affordable Care Act are on the stake with the judge. The possibility of ending of the election with the Court makes Barrett’s confirmation even more controversial.
Democrats want to delay the process. Their line of argument is that Republicans blocked the confirmation of Obama’s Supreme Court nominee before the 2016 presidential elections and are now playing double standards. Some Democrats have even decided to boycott the hearing but their number is limited.
Another major contention is that key Republicans have cautioned Democrats not to question Barret’s faith. The controversy over Dianne Feinstein’s 2016 remark, “dogma lives loudly within you”, over Barrett’s confirmation in appeals court has not yet faded away. Democrats still face flak by conservatives over her remark. Her remark is said to have a big hand in Barrett’s conservative popularity. Slightest attack over Barrett’s faith by Democrats can stir major controversy this time. They will abstain from doing so.
What the key Republicans have to say?
The Senate Judiciary Committee will be chaired by the South Carolina senator, Lindsey Graham. He vehemently opposed the confirmation of Obama’s nominee before the 2016 presidential elections, arguing that there should not be any confirmation before elections. This year, he is pushing for Barrett’s confirmation saying that President Trump has the constitutional authority to do so. His Democratic rival, Jamie Harrison attacked him for playing double standards. Graham’s vigorous support to Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation in 2018 earned him the trust of Trump.
Republican Senator Josh Hawley’s role in the confirmation hearing will be worth watching. He has warned Democrats from making remarks over Judge Barrett’s faith. He has also asked them to reject Dianne Feinstein’s 2016 remark. Hawley is also a stringently opposed to Roe Vs. Wade case that upheld abortion rights. Barrett has committed to reverse the judgement.
Democrats on the committee seek delay
The 87-year-old Democrat senator from California, Dianne Feinstein will be leading the questioning of Barrett’s credentials. The veteran leader is known for her effective questioning. She became notorious for her ” dogma lives loudly within you” remark against Barret in 2016.
Feinstein is very old. She is expected to give way to her home senator Kamala Harris after her lead. Harris is the vice-presidential candidate from Democratic party. She is an erstwhile prosecutor and first black woman to get presidency ticket. Kamala Harris is in bid to enhance the strength of the Supreme Court to dilute the conservative majority after Barrett’s confirmation. She has, however, refused to answer Mike Pence’s question over the issue.
Democrat senator, Chris Coons is on the committee. He is likely to voice his arguments against Barrett’s confirmation. Coons is considered as very loyal to Joe Biden. He sees Barrett as even more conservative than Antonin Scalia, the judge she has clerked for. He has directly linked Barrett’s confirmation with repealing of the Affordable Care Act. The Obama era act provides health insurance to millions of Americans.
Political fortunes at stake
Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation hearing correlates with the political fortunes of many committee members.
The fate of Kamala Harris and Biden’s campaign in the election will be partly decided by her questioning of Barrett. The chairman of the committee, Lindsey Graham is facing stiff competition from his Democrat rival Jamie Harrison in South Carolina. Other Republicans like Mike Lee and Thom Tillis also have their political fortunes at stake with their performance in the hearing process as conservative votes form the cornerstone of Republicans.
Barrett’s confirmation to the Supreme Court has both far-reaching and immediate political consequences. The hearing starting tomorrow will define the course of 2020 elections and American politics in the coming years.