WASHINGTON—U.S. Sen. John Kennedy, R-Madisonville, on Tuesday criticized Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee for what he said were preconceived notions about how Amy Coney Barrett would decide on cases as a Supreme Court justice.
Democrats during the Judiciary Committee hearings on Barrett’s nomination have centered their arguments around what her confirmation to the high court would mean on issues ranging from same-sex marriage to abortion rights and health care.
If confirmed, she would move the court to the far right with six conservative judges to three liberal judges.
Kennedy, a member of the Judiciary panel, asked Barrett if she would be impartial and uphold her oath to interpret the Constitution. Barrett, 48, and a judge on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, agreed.
Before Kennedy took his turn, Sen. Kamala Harris of California, the Democratic nominee for vice president, had pressed Barrett on how she would rule on the Affordable Care Act. President Donald Trump has tweeted that he would nominate a Supreme Court Judge to repeal the landmark health care law.
“Senator Harris just called you a liar,” Kennedy said. “Let’s just cut to the chase. She said you’re a liar. Are you a liar?”
Harris did not call Barrett a liar.
“I am not a liar, Senator Kennedy,” Barrett said.
Democrats also have raised concerns about Barrett signing her name to a 2006 newspaper ad sponsored by an anti-abortion group, which was first reported by the Guardian.
To demonstrate that Barrett has personal views on many topics, Kennedy asked her a series of random questions.
He asked her if she had thoughts on taxes, nuclear energy and climate change.
“I’ve got personal views and personal views on a range of matters just like every human,” Barrett said.
Kennedy then asked her if her personal views would affect the way she ruled as a judge, and Barrett said she would remain impartial and interpret the Constitution as an originalist, which means she interprets the text of the Constitution as it was written at the time.
The way she interprets the constitution is the same as her mentor, the late Justice Antonin Scalia, whom she clerked for after law school. She then went on to become a professor at Notre Dame Law School.
Trump nominated Barrett after the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died Sept. 18 from complications of pancreatic cancer.
The hearings will continue Wednesday at 9 a.m.