President Trump’s third nominee to the Supreme Court declined to answer some questions that seemed steeped in basic facts, such as whether a president has the power under the Constitution to unilaterally delay an election. Barrett also declined to say whether she would recuse herself from a potential 2020 election case as Senate Democrats demanded, saying she would not be “used as a pawn to decide the election for the American people.”
Like high court nominees who preceded her, Barrett repeatedly avoided weighing in on her personal views of landmark decisions and declined to say whether she endorsed opinions from her mentor, former Justice Antonin Scalia, on abortion and same-sex marriage. At the same time, under hours of questioning from members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, she reinforced perceptions that she would help solidify a 6-to-3 conservative majority on the Supreme Court.
On the Affordable Care Act, whose constitutionality will come before the Supreme Court in oral arguments on Nov. 10, Barrett on multiple occasions said she was not “hostile” to the 2010 law that has been the core of the Democratic Party’s argument against her confirmation.
“I am not here on a mission to destroy the Affordable Care Act,” Barrett said under questioning from Democrats who tried to shed light on how she may rule on California v. Texas, a case brought by nearly 20 Republican attorneys general and backed by the Trump administration that challenges the constitutionality of former president Barack Obama’s signature health-care law.
Barrett, who would succeed the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg if confirmed, testified that judges should not be swayed by their personal views on policy.
“Judges can’t just wake up one day and say, ‘I have an agenda. I like guns, I hate guns; I like abortion, I hate abortion,’ and walk