Amy Coney Barrett hearings Day 4: Republicans reject Democratic effort to delay committee vote

The Democrats protested briefly Thursday to try to delay the committee's action against the Supreme Court's appointment of Amy Coney Barrett to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, with the panel tossing the committee's rules aside.
"I want to officially note that I am the only minority member here and so we cannot do business until this second minority member is here," Illinois Senator Dick Durbin told Graham. Reference to the committee's rules that require two members of the minority to be present to conduct business.
MORE: Amy Coney Barrett Senate Acknowledgments Hearings Day 3 Highlights
Graham hit back, "If we fix this problem for you in the future, you will do what I am going to do, which is to get the committee going: a quick vote was held with the support of all Republicans, the chairman, and the protest ended.
PHOTO: U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham Committee Chairman speaks during the Senate Judiciary Committee on the fourth day of hearings of Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett on October 15, 2020 in Washington. (Tom Williams / POOL / AFP via Getty Images)
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After the Democrats' delay efforts ceased and a vote on the nomination was scheduled for October 22 at 1:00 p.m., it became even clearer that Barrett is on track to be approved by the Senate by Election Day, a major goal of President Donald Trump, who said she could help resolve an election-related Supreme Court dispute.
Barrett said she would give serious thought to repurposing herself, but not commit to refusing as the Democrats urged her to do. She did not attend the hearing on Thursday.
Despite the remarkably low-key question-and-answer period on Tuesday and Wednesday, the Democrats were very critical of Barrett as the trial ended, and in the most threatening fashion threw her to the nation's Supreme Court, accusing her of wanting to be one activist judge who is sure to have a casting vote to remove dozen of laws that would affect millions of Americans, from guaranteed health care for those with pre-existing coverage to same-sex marriage and even climate change.
PHOTO: Senator Richard Blumenthal speaks to the Senate Judiciary Committee during the confirmation hearing for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett on October 15, 2020 in Washington. (Susan Walsh / AP)
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"They want her to be the ninth judiciary to make voting decisions, not the voters," Senator Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn. Told reporters. "And they want someone to put the Affordable Care and Roe Act down." v. Calf. "
For his part, Barrett diligently avoided any hint of how she might one day rule if affirmed, and refused to answer even the simplest of questions - including whether a president has authority to delay an election. Under federal law, that power rests solely with Congress.
Instead, Barrett maintained a stock response, which she used in a similar fashion during 19 hours of interview: “If this question ever came before me, I would have to hear arguments from litigants, read briefs, and consult and speak to my employees Colleagues and go through the opinion writing process. So if I give the cuff answers, I would be basically a legal expert. I don't think we want judges to be legal experts. "
PHOTO: Supreme Court Candidate Amy Coney Barrett testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee in Washington on October 14, 2020. (Andrew Caballero-Reynolds / Pool via Getty Images)
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The focus of much of the two days of questioning was on the Affordable Care Act, which had a case in the Supreme Court just a week after the election, and Democrats contended that a Barrett judge would likely cast the casting vote, who could see the destruction of the Obama-era law and ultimately some 20 million Americans with pre-existing conditions without health care.
Texas GOP Senator John Cornyn accused the Democrats of raising "straw men" to scare Americans into believing Barrett was taking away their health care. He said his colleagues across the aisle “got used to the Supreme Court rescuing them.
"I've really struggled to find out the truth and understand why Judge Barrett is such a threat to them. Because they've gotten used to the fact that when they lose elections and lose votes in Congress, they depend on the courts. That should." Judges don't, "admonished Cornyn.
The Democrats repeatedly mocked the accelerated hearings, which came just 14 days after Barrett's nomination, citing new conversations Barrett found on a Notre Dame calendar during her time as a professor - as first reported by CNN - that were not in the questionnaire included in the committee were required. Still, the Republicans carried on.
Never in history has a Supreme Court candidate been confirmed so close to an election.
"This is a hypocritical bogus job," argued Senator Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii. “The court is definitely going to the right and with your presence in the court ... all of these precedents can be lifted. It's all about this. "
PHOTO: Senator Dick Durbin is seen before Supreme Court Candidate Amy Coney Barrett testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the fourth day of her confirmation hearings on Capitol Hill October 15, 2020 in Washington. (Pool / Getty Images)
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Democrat Durbin said he feared the future of the panel with rules and norms that were so casually broken.
"We are breaking the rules of the Senate and the rules of this committee," he said. "We defy our own tradition, our common sense and the mutual respect that resulted in votes of 98: 0 (Scalia) and 96: 3 (Ginsburg)."
"I don't know how we're going to get this train back on track. This nomination is not normal ... we should have waited," warned Durbin.
The threat of the pandemic was great in the hearing, with hand sanitizer and disinfectant everywhere, and almost every participant in mask.
Delaware Democratic Senator Chris Coons announced Thursday morning that he had just returned from a virus test conducted by the Capitol Attending Physician "so I can return to my family tonight with some confidence that I haven't picked him up here yet," he added he was not "confident" that the participants were safe.
Despite the occasional sharpness, the overwhelming respectful hearings ended in collegiality.
Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein thanked GOP Chairman Graham for holding one of the best Senate hearings I have ever attended. Later the two hugged.
PHOTO: Ranking member Diane Feinstein and Chairman Lindsey Graham embrace as the confirmation hearings for Judge Amy Coney Barrett wind down in Washington on October 15, 2020. (Samuel Corum / Getty Images)
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Graham praised Barrett, concluding that he is hopeful that polarized Americans can "start over" after the elections.
"Let me just say there is an election coming. The winners will be announced. We can start over," said Graham. “What I like most about democracy is that it's a journey with no destination. When are we going to get there? We never actually do. When you're a kid, look forward to it. It really is the journey. I do not know." I don't know how this election will turn out. I am hopeful for our side. Even so, 2016 was a curveball in many ways. I don’t know what’s going to happen. The more people vote, the better. "Graham went on in his own re-election campaign.
"When it's all over in a couple of weeks. I'll only say this when I'm around, I'll commit to starting over. I'm looking forward, not backward."
Amy Coney Barrett Hearings Day 4: Republicans Oppose Democratic Efforts to Delay Committee Vote, originally posted on abcnews.go.com

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