At the conclusion of Wednesday’s confirmation hearing for Judge Amy Coney Barrett, the
Babylon Bee, our favorite parody site, posted the above image with the headline, “ACB Calmly Answers Questions While Typing Up Appellate Court Decision And Cooking Dinner For 9”.
And, like so many parodies the Bee posts, that one was hilarious because it was so close to the truth – Judge Coney Barrett did make Democrats look like idiots by simply calmly and professionally being herself.
Democrats on the Senate judiciary committee attempted to get Judge Coney Barrett to express views on everything from the Affordable Care Act, to the right-to-life, to same-sex marriage, gun control and any potential cases related to the result of the looming 2020 election.
And ACB stuck to “the Ginsburg rule” and avoided answering directly about how she would rule on any of the issues that the court may be asked to address.
But that didn’t stop Democrats from using their time for political grandstanding and lengthy speeches that lacked a question mark at the end.
One of the weirdest was a soliloquy by Democrat Sen. Richard Durbin of Illinois who raised the case of California v. Texas, which centers on whether the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate is still constitutional now that there is no tax attached to it and whether the act itself can survive without it. The Trump administration has sided with states that contend that ObamaCare should be stricken down in its entirety.
"There is a political agenda here. Whether you are privy to it, part of it notwithstanding, it has to do with the Affordable Care Act," Durbin said. "Nov. 10 is the absolute date they have to fill the vacancy if the president, and those who support him, and those who support the Republican platform are going to keep their promise to end the Affordable Care Act. They need that ninth justice, and that's why it has to be hurried. Unfortunately, that is the cloud, the orange cloud over your nomination."
We presume that Durbin’s “orange cloud” was an “Orange Man Bad” reference to President Trump, but Judge Coney Barrett answered with an excellent Law School 101 primer on severability – it’s like a Jenga game – without giving any hint as to how she might rule on the case.
Another weird moment was when Democrat Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey asked Judge Coney Barrett if President Trump could pardon himself.
"That would be a legal question. That would be a Constitutional question — and so in keeping with my obligation not to give hints, previews or forecasts of how I would resolve a case, that's not one that I can answer," she said.
"I think I agree with you," Booker said according to NPR. "It is an issue right now. It's never been an issue before. But it is an issue right now — that our president may intend to pardon himself for future crimes or past crimes."
There's no legal consensus about that aspect of a president's pardon power and no president has ever tested it. Plus, President Trump denies he has broken any laws or done anything wrong, so there wasn’t really a question there, just another “Orange Man bad” opportunity for Democrats.
As Charlie Gerow said in an op-ed for The Hill, “Democrats have no case against Amy Coney Barrett — but that won't stop them.”
The simple fact is, the opponents of Judge Barrett can’t make a case against her qualifications because they’re unassailable.
Judge Barrett is uniformly regarded as a brilliant legal mind, possessing a fair and impartial approach, a judicial temperament, and a deep and abiding respect for the rule of law and the Constitution.
Even if Judge Barrett had somehow communicated that she was going to “protect” Obamacare from the bench, Democrats would all still vote against her, because what Democrats were really trying to do is get Judge Coney Barrett to commit to continuing the activist judiciary’s five decades of legislating from the bench.
Judge Coney Barrett’s steadfast statement that, “The policy decisions and value judgments of government must be made by the political branches elected by and accountable to the people,” is further confirmation that President Trump made an inspired choice in nominating her and Senator McConnell is doing the right thing by steering her confirmation through the Senate as expeditiously as possible.
Call the toll-free Capitol Switchboard (1-866-220-0044), tell Senator Lindsey Graham, Chairman of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell there should be no let up or slowdown in the confirmation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett.
Amy Coney Barrett
Affordable Care Act
Roe v. Wade
separation of powers
Gun Owners of America