US President Donald Trump announces his US Supreme Court nominee, Judge Amy Coney Barrett (right), in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC on September 26.(AFP)
US President Donald Trump announces his US Supreme Court nominee, Judge Amy Coney Barrett (right), in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC on September 26.(AFP)

Senate Republicans rush to confirm Barrett as SC judge before election

Lindsey Graham, the top Republican on the Senate judiciary committee that will conduct the confirmation process, said he plans to start the process on October 12, and be ready for a floor vote after October 26.
Hindustan Times, Washington | By Yashwant Raj
UPDATED ON SEP 27, 2020 11:36 PM IST

US Senate Republicans plan to fast-track the process to confirm Amy Coney Barrett, President Donald Trump’s pick for the Supreme Court vacancy left by the passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and have her on the bench in the final days of voting that ends on November 3.

Lindsey Graham, the top Republican on the senate judiciary committee that will conduct the confirmation process, said he plans to start the process on October 12, and be ready for a floor vote after October 26.

Barrett is widely expected to be confirmed because Democrats, who are opposing her nomination, are a 47-53 minority in the Senate and do not have the numbers to stop her.

Trump announced his pick at a White House event on Saturday, calling Barrett “one of our nation’s most brilliant and gifted legal minds”. On Sunday, he said the Senate will “easily” confirm Barrett before the election.

Barrett’s confirmation will give conservatives a 6-3 majority on the Supreme Court, tilting its ideological balance for generations. Democrats are worried and against it. Joe Biden, the Democratic presidential candidate, called for the Senate to not act on the nomination until “after the American people select their next president and the next Congress”.

He pointed out Barrett’s opposition to the Affordable Care Act, the Obama-era health insurance plan that Trump and Republicans have been trying to overturn. Democrats are using it as a rallying cry to drum up opposition to the nomination. It’s about “healthcare, healthcare and healthcare”, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told CNN.

Barrett said in her speech accepting the nomination that her judicial philosophy was moulded by late Justice Antonin Scalia, her mentor: “A judge must apply the law as written. Judges are not policymakers, and they must be resolute in setting aside any policy views they might hold.”

Meanwhile, Biden held a lead over Trump, according to two polls. He had a 10 percentage point advantage over Trump in a poll by the Washington Post and ABC News and eight point lead in a survey by the New York Times and Siena College.

From professor to likely top court judge

Barrett, 48, will be the youngest justice on the current US Supreme Court if confirmed.

She was a judge on the seventh circuit court of appeals since 2017, also as a Trump nominee.

After graduating summa cum laude from Notre Dame Law School, she clerked for late Justice Antonin Scalia, practised as a trial and an appellate litigator in DC and taught law for 15 years. Based on her writings and rulings, experts said she is anti-abortion and pro-gun, and in favour of allowing non-violent felons to buy guns.

She is a hardliner on immigration and supported Trump’s wealth test to keep poorer immigrants out of the US.

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