Amy Coney Barrett speaks with 6 Senate Democrats ahead of confirmation hearings

0

President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett on Wednesday spoke with six Democratic senators on the committee that will consider her nomination next week.

The White House said Barrett spoke with the Senate Judiciary Committee’s top Democrat, Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California and Sens. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Chris Coons of Delaware.

Barrett spoke with another Democrat on the committee, Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey, last week.

“During these calls, the Judge emphasized the importance of judicial independence and spoke about her judicial philosophy and family. Judge Barrett is looking forward to her upcoming hearing on October 12th,” White House spokesman Judd Deere said.

Democrats are expected to oppose Barrett’s nomination to replace liberal icon Ruth Bader Ginsburg by arguing that a confirmation vote should be held after the Nov. 3 election.

But barring any surprises, a Republican Senate majority all but ensures that Barrett will join the Supreme Court, potentially shifting its ideological balance for decades.

Barrett, 48, is a judge on the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. She’s a favorite among religious conservatives and has been criticized by some Democrats for her association with the Catholic group People of Praise.

Despite the phone calls, Democrats largely avoided traditional in-person meetings with Barrett. Last week, West Virginia Democratic. Sen. Joe Manchin became the first Senate Democrat to meet with her.

Barrett’s nomination was announced at a Sept. 26 Rose Garden event attended by many people who later tested positive for COVID-19, including President Trump and Judiciary Committee Republican Sens. Mike Lee of Utah and Thom Tillis of North Carolina.

A third Republican senator, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, tested positive for the serious respiratory bug in the past week.

Barrett contracted the coronavirus earlier this year and tested negative after the Rose Garden event.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) last month vowed to swiftly consider Barrett before the Nov. 3 election.

So far just two Republicans — Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska — said they want to delay a vote until after the election. Republicans hold 53 seats and at least 50 senators must vote for the nominee.

Democrats feel cheated out of their own opportunity to replace conservative Justice Antonin Scalia in 2016, when McConnell refused to hold a vote on then-President Barack Obama’s nominee Judge Merrick Garland, saying voters should decide. Republicans note the Senate and presidency were held by different parties.

View original post