Monday, October 12, 2020

Barrett Hearings Set Up Partisan Battle Ahead of Election; How the Senate’s Rules Might Play Out in the Barrett SCOTUS Confirmation, and related stories

Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Press Pool
Supreme Court Nominee Hearings Set Up Partisan Battle Ahead of Election:
Senate debate over Judge Amy Coney Barrett as President Trump’s pick will put attention on abortion rights, health care, gun rights and other topics
Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Judge Amy Coney Barrett this week promise to add more unpredictability to an already tumultuous election season as the GOP-led Senate seeks to expand the Supreme Court’s conservative majority with just weeks before Election Day.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) has planned four days of hearings starting Monday, though three Republicans on the 22-member panel can’t attend the first day of hearings in person, with two having tested positive for the coronavirus and a third under quarantine for having been exposed to one of them.
Republicans’ goal is to have Judge Barrett, who is set to appear before the committee on Monday but won’t take questions until Tuesday, confirmed by the full Senate during the last week in October. Election Day is Nov. 3.
“I chose to accept the nomination because I believe deeply in the rule of law and the place of the Supreme Court in our Nation,” Judge Barrett is set to say on Monday in opening remarks reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. “I believe Americans of all backgrounds deserve an independent Supreme Court that interprets our Constitution and laws as they are written.”
Like all Supreme Court hearings of recent years, the event is expected to crackle with questions about abortion rights, health care and gun rights, hot-button issues that energize large numbers of voters in both parties. But this time there are also tensions over the propriety of holding a vote so close to a presidential election and the safety of holding the event during the coronavirus pandemic.
By Sunday, half of committee members had said they would show up in person. Democrats have called for committee members and staff to get tested before entering the hearing room, a measure some Republicans have rejected as an attempt to slow-walk the process.
“I think we’re going to see some more procedural games and shenanigans, I don’t know what they’re going to do,” committee member Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas) said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday, adding: “It’s not going to work.” --->READ MORE HERE
Photo: Caroline Brehman/Zuma Press
How the Senate’s Rules Might Play Out in the Amy Coney Barrett Supreme Court Confirmation:
Senate Democrats have conceded that they don’t have the tools to stop Republicans from confirming Judge Amy Coney Barrett as a justice of the Supreme Court. But they could slow the nomination and impose political costs on Republicans for proceeding. Republican plans also could be disrupted in the unlikely event that more GOP senators contract Covid-19.
Here is a sampler of some of the procedural issues at play as the 22-member Senate Judiciary Committee, which has 12 Republican and 10 Democratic members, considers Judge Barrett’s nomination.
Could Senate Democrats stop Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) from proceeding by denying him the quorum required under committee rules?
No. The committee’s rules require the presence of nine committee members, including at least two from the minority, for transacting business, and require a majority to be actually present at the time action is taken—in this case, voting on Judge Barrett’s nomination. But committee rules aren’t enforceable, and in the past chairmen have simply overruled a point of order objecting to a rules violation, experts on Senate procedure say. However, Democrats could exact a political cost on Republicans if they were able to point out that the majority violated its own rules. This seems unlikely to happen on Monday, given that at least three Democrats—Sen. Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), Sen. Richard Blumenthal (Conn.) and Chris Coons (Del.)--say they plan to attend the hearing in person, on the grounds that a Supreme Court confirmation hearing is too important to be conducted virtually.
What if a majority of Senate Judiciary Committee members aren’t available to vote on sending Judge Barrett’s nomination to the Senate floor? --->READ MORE HERE
Read: Amy Coney Barrett's opening statement ahead of the Supreme Court hearings

Kamala Harris will attend Amy Coney Barrett confirmation hearing remotely

Ted Cruz said he expects Democrats to pull ‘shenanigans’ to disrupt SCOTUS hearing

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