What to Know About the Final Day of Amy Coney Barrett Confirmation Hearings

(In case you missed it, get caught up on Day 1Day 2 and Day 3 of the Amy Coney Barrett Supreme Court hearings.)

What to Know About the Final Day of Amy Coney Barrett Confirmation Hearings

Thursday, the final day of Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Court hearings, was a day primarily for outside witnesses to make their case for or against the nomination Barrett to the Supreme Court.

Prior to Witnesses, Democrats Moved to Block Nomination

Before even hearing from the witnesses, Senate Republicans—the so-called “law and order” party—plowed through the rules of the Senate Judiciary Committee to schedule a committee vote on Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination for Oct. 22, ignoring rules that require a minimum of two members of the minority party to be present to conduct business.

“I want to take official note of the fact that I am the only member of the minority that is here, and so we cannot conduct business until that second member of the minority arrives,” Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said.

Chairman of the Judiciary Committee Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) rejected his claim and proceeded anyway, saying Democrats would do the same if they were in his position.

Soon after, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), speaking from Louisville, told press that he plans to put Barrett’s nomination on the Senate floor as soon as Oct. 23—teeing up her final confirmation vote for sometime during the week of Oct. 26.

Once Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Chris Coons (D-Del.) entered the room, they offered their last-minute protestations and eventually attempted to force a vote to stop the process, to no avail.

“The time has come to be honest about what is going on here,” said Klobuchar. “You are just trying to ram through this justice—against your own words, in light of everything this president has said, where he won’t even commit to a peaceful transition to power. That is the world we are in right now.”

Blumenthal asked to suspend the hearings “indefinitely,” calling it a “sham process.”

Whitehouse told his Republican colleagues: “Don’t think that when you have established the rule of ‘because we can,’ that should the shoe be on the other foot, you will have any credibility.”

Booker attempted to appeal to Republicans’ sense of humanity, calling his Republican colleagues by name: “We are failing as a body. … I am appealing right now: We’ve got to stop this.” He said the hearings were happening at a time of crisis for the U.S., including record-breaking food lines, high unemployment and a president who refuses to commit to a peaceful transfer of power. What is needed, he said, is a “revival of civic grace.”

While Democrats’ requests to postpone were a last-ditch effort, since Republicans have the majority they need with or without their Democratic colleagues’ votes, there is further validity to ask for a delay to confirm.

On Wednesday, a. CNN KFILE investigation uncovered public calendars from the University of Notre Dame’s law school that show at least seven additional talks not listed on Barrett’s Senate paperwork, one of which was with the law school’s anti-abortion group.


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Here’s what the outside witnesses had to say today:

Dr. Farhan Bhatti

AGAINST BARRETT’S NOMINATION

What to Know About the Final Day of Amy Coney Barrett Confirmation Hearings

Dr. Farhan Bhatti is a family physician and CEO of Care Free Medical, a nonprofit clinic that serves low-income patients—almost two-thirds of whom are enrolled in Medicaid. Bhatti discussed the harm to his patients if the Supreme Court overturns the Affordable Care Act.

“Because of the health care they now have through the ACA, I have seen people reroute their lives from one destined for an early grave, to one of new hope and purpose,” said Bhatti. “Simply put, as a frontline doctor, I witness every day how the ACA has improved, is improving, and will continue to improve the lives of ordinary, hard-working people.”

Judge Thomas Griffith (Ret.)

IN FAVOR OF BARRETT’S NOMINATION

What to Know About the Final Day of Amy Coney Barrett Confirmation Hearings

Judge Thomas Griffith is a former Court of Appeals judge who recently wrote an opinion piece for Bloomberg titled, “Barrett’s Religion Won’t Dictate Her Rulings.”

During his testimony, Griffith referred to Barrett as his “friend,” and attempted to portray her as even-keeled and objective.

In the past, Griffith’s behavior has raised eyebrows: After retiring in May, the liberal group Demand Justice alleged Griffith only stepped down from the judiciary to allow Trump and McConnell the opportunity to appoint a younger, more conservative replacement before the November election.

Kristen Clarke

AGAINST BARRETT’S NOMINATION

What to Know About the Final Day of Amy Coney Barrett Confirmation Hearings

Kristen Clarke is the president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. Clarke spoke about the importance of voting rights and other civil rights protected by the Constitution and federal law—and said Barrett’s confirmation would put these crucial civil liberties in jeopardy.

Clarke characterized Barrett’s jurisprudence as “far outside the mainstream” and expressed concern about Barrett’s “alarming insensitivity” to racial hostility and to workers’ rights.

During a Q&A with Sen. Blumenthal, Clarke raised concerns about Barrett’s commitment to originalism, arguing that her interpretation of the 2nd Amendment will likely lead to an increase in gun violence.

Saikrishna B. Prakash

IN FAVOR OF BARRETT’S NOMINATION

What to Know About the Final Day of Amy Coney Barrett Confirmation Hearings

Saikrishna B. Prakash is a conservative legal expert and professor of law at the University of Virginia. He is one of the leading advocates of originalism, or the adherence to “apply the law as written,” says Barrett—who also subscribes to this legal philosophy, along with conservative Justices Alito and Thomas.

While advocates of the philosophy claim originalism is simply a neutral reading of the law, other legal scholars have argued that such a reading of the Constitution would call into question many aspects of contemporary life.

In particular, the irony of a woman claiming herself to be an “originalist” is oxymoronic—considering the founding fathers behind the Constitution did not believe that women should be granted full rights of citizenship, much less hold a Supreme Court seat.

Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick writes:

Hiding behind “originalism” allows Barrett and Senate Republicans to repeat that law is a neutral science, while also conveniently arriving at the host of policy outcomes favored by the Federalist Society, the Koch brothers, and nameless donors.

Crystal Good

AGAINST BARRETT’S NOMINATION

What to Know About the Final Day of Amy Coney Barrett Confirmation Hearings

Crystal Good, who fought for her right to obtain an abortion at age 16, spoke about the importance of reproductive freedom.

Because of her age and the laws in her home state of West Virginia, Good couldn’t access the procedure without either notifying a parent or seeking permission from a judge. A survivor of sexual abuse, Good said she didn’t feel safe asking a parent, so she went to court—where she was granted permission to obtain the abortion she sought.

While her case was indeed decided in her favor, Good—who is biracial—said she knows the outcome could have easily gone another way.

“I still think about what might have happened if I didn’t have that list of accomplishments, or if the judge didn’t think I was competent enough to decide when to start my family, or if he believed the harmful stereotype I was raised to believe—that Black girls were ‘fast’ and promiscuous,” she said. “Access to abortion should not depend on our GPA, the color of our skin, where we live, or the luck of the draw. It should not depend in any shape, form or fashion on who our governor is or who is sitting on the Supreme Court.”

“With this nomination, I am losing faith,” Good pleaded.

She closed with this appeal: “Please listen to people who have had abortions: Do not confirm this nominee. Our lives depend on it.”

Stacy Staggs

AGAINST BARRETT’S NOMINATION

What to Know About the Final Day of Amy Coney Barrett Confirmation Hearings

Stacy Staggs is a mother of 7-year old twins. Staggs’s twins have multiple pre-existing conditions due to their premature birth and rely on the Affordable Care Act’s protections. Staggs works with Little Lobbyists, a nonprofit started by families with children who have complex medical needs. Staggs discuss the devastating effects on her family if the Supreme Court overturns the Affordable Care Act.

Staggs sounded the alarm about the nominee: “Barrett has repeatedly made statements that are hostile to the Affordable Care Act. … A vote for Rarrett is a vote to strike down the law that saved the lives of my daughters. And my family is just one of many.”

Amanda Rauh-Bieri

IN FAVOR OF BARRETT’S NOMINATION

What to Know About the Final Day of Amy Coney Barrett Confirmation Hearings

Amanda Rauh-Bieri is a former Barrett clerk and current lawyer practicing in Michigan.

Barrett “has the rare gift of lifting everyone around her,” said Rauh-Bieri during her testimony.

Laura Wolk

IN FAVOR OF BARRETT’S NOMINATION

What to Know About the Final Day of Amy Coney Barrett Confirmation Hearings

Laura Wolk is a former student of Barrett’s who later become the first blind woman to clerk at the Supreme Court.

If Barrett is confirmed, the country “will gain the service of one of the kindest individuals I have ever known,” Wolk said.

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Roxy Szal is the associate digital editor at Ms.