New Telegraph

Trump’s Supreme Court pick evades key questions

US Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett has evaded questions about her views on key issues on day two of her Senate confirmation hearing.
The conservative judge repeatedly refused to be drawn on abortion, healthcare and LGBTQ rights, reports the BBC.
She stated she had “no agenda” and vowed to stick to “the rule of law”.
If Judge Barrett passes the committee hearing, the full Senate will vote to confirm or reject her for a lifelong place on the top US court.
Republicans want the confirmation ahead of the presidential election on November 3. It would give the nine-member court a 6-3 conservative majority, altering the ideological balance of the court for potentially decades to come.
Democrats fear Judge Barrett’s successful nomination would favour Republicans in politically sensitive cases that reach the Supreme Court.
She is the proposed replacement for liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died last month aged 87.
On Tuesday, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsay Graham, a Republican, said she was “one of the greatest picks President Trump could make” for the court, while Senator Chuck Grassley, a fellow Republican, said her record showed she would approach each case in an “unbiased” way.
Republicans hold a slim majority in the US Senate, the body that confirms Supreme Court judges, making Judge Barrett’s nomination very likely to pass.
Democrats fear her as a threat to issues such as the healthcare reforms passed under former President Barack Obama. They have criticised the rushed nomination process as “reckless” and a “sham”, amid a coronavirus pandemic that has killed 215,000 people in the US.
They have also accused Republicans of hypocrisy. In March 2016, when Obama, a Democrat, put forward a nominee to fill a spot on the court, the Senate Republicans refused to hold hearings, arguing the decision should not be made in an election year.
What’s happening at Tuesday’s hearing?
Tuesday is the first of two days of direct questioning from senators on the deeply divided Judiciary Committee. On Monday the judge explained her legal philosophy and qualifications for the position.
Democratic senators are scrutinising her conservative views and decisions she has delivered as a judge on the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Much of her record could be seen to be in opposition to the philosophy of the late Justice Ginsburg.
Senator Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the committee, asked her for her opinions on abortion and LGBTQ rights. But Judge Barrett said it would be wrong as a sitting judge “to make my opinion about precedents”.
“I have an agenda to stick to the rule of law,” she said, stating that she had “no agenda to try to overrule” other decisions.
The judge is a devout Catholic but stated she had “never tried to impose” her personal choices on others, in her personal life or her professional life.
Democrats fear she could vote to strike down reforms providing health insurance to millions of Americans when the court hears a case against the public health insurance scheme next month.
Judge Barrett has in the past criticised a 2012 Supreme Court ruling upholding the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
But asked for her opinions on the law, Judge Barrett refused again, arguing that as this case is soon to be heard by the court, “the canons of judicial conduct prohibit me from expressing a view”.
She also stated that she had had “no conversation with the president or any of his staff” about how she might rule on the healthcare case, adding that it would be a “complete violation of the independence of the judiciary” for someone to put a judge on a court to get a “particular result”.
She also added that she is “not hostile to the ACA, I’m not hostile to any statue that you pass.”
“I apply the law, I follow the law,” she said. “You make the policy.”
The judge also refused to state whether she would abstain from taking part if any dispute about the presidential election ended up in the Supreme Court. While she vowed to “fully and faithfully” follow the law of recusal, she said she could not “offer a legal conclusion right now”.
Democrats have questioned her impartiality given her nomination to the bench by President Trump.
The hearings last four days.

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