The judge pushed back
Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D) warned U.S. Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett to choose her answers carefully during his line of questioning, telling the judge that there may be people watching who may “be deterred from using contraceptives or may feel fear that it may be banned” if she is appointed to the high court.
What are the details?
On her third day of confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Blumenthal asked Barrett to share her views on high-profile cases decided by the Supreme Court in the past, namely Brown v. Board of Education, Loving v. Virginia, and Griswold v. Connecticut.
National Review noted that “the Court ruled in those cases that racial segregation in public schools was unconstitutional, laws banning interracial marriage were unconstitutional and that the right of married couples to buy and use contraceptives without government restriction was protected by the constitution, respectively.”
The Democrat from Connecticut pointed out that “Griswold involves a ban on contraception,” before pressing Barrett.
“I’m asking your legal position. I want you to keep in mind how many people are listening and watching because they may take a message from what you say,” he said.
“They may see what you say and be deterred from using contraceptives,” he continued, “or may feel fear that it may be banned.”
The judge answered, “Well, Senator Blumenthal, the position that I’ve taken is whether a question is easy or hard that I can’t offer an answer to it, and I would be surprised if people were afraid that birth control is about to be criminalized because I said to…”
“You might be surprised,” Blumenthal interrupted, before citing the answers given by previous justices who stated during their confirmation hearings that they agreed with the Griswold decision.
Blumenthal added, “I’m stunned that you’re not willing to say an unequivocal ‘yes, it was correctly decided, I would have been in the majority,'” before he asked her about another case.
How did Barrett respond?
“Every time you ask me a question about whether a case was correctly decided or not I cannot answer that question because I cannot suggest agreement or disagreement with precedents of the Supreme Court,” Barrett replied. “All of those precedents bind me now as a Seventh Circuit Judge and were I to be confirmed I would be responsible for applying the law of stare decisis to all of them.”
After the senator pushed her further, Barrett responded, “I’m not even expressing a view in disagreement.”
She told Blumenthal, “You’re pushing me to try to violate the judicial Canons of ethics and to offer advisory opinions and I won’t do that.”
You can watch Blumenthal’s entire line of questioning below. The section detailed in this story begins at the 6:40 mark:
Author: Breck Dumas