Barrett back on Capitol Hill for senators’ final questions

WASHINGTON (AP) — Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett returned to Capitol Hill for a third day of confirmation hearings as senators dig deeper into the conservative judge’s outlook on abortion, healthcare and a potentially disputed presidential election — the Democrats running out of time to stop Republicans pushing her quick confirmation.

Yesterday’s session was Barrett’s last before the Senate Judiciary Committee. She has been batting away questions in long and lively exchanges, insisting she would bring no personal agenda to the court but decide cases “as they come”.

Her nomination by President Donald Trump to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has ground other legislative business to a halt as Republicans excited by the prospect of locking in a 6-3 conservative court majority race to confirm her over Democratic objections before Election Day.

“We’re going to fill this vacancy,” Senator Lindsey Graham, R-SC, the Committee Chairman, said late Tuesday after a nearly 12-hour session.

Graham said he appreciated that Trump had nominated a judge “who’s unabashedly pro-life, somebody who embraces their faith, but somebody who understands the difference between their personal views and judging”.

Barrett’s nomination has been the focus at a Capitol mostly shut down by COVID-19 protocols, frustrating Democrats who are virtually powerless to stop a judge from confirmation. They warn she will be seated on the court in time to cast a vote to undo the Affordable Care Act next month, causing millions of Americans to lose coverage during a pandemic.

Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett speaks during a confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee. PHOTO: AP