Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett has declined to say whether she views the criminalizing of in vitro fertilization as constitutional, describing it as an abstract question. (Oct. 13)
RICHARD BLUMENTHAL: The purpose of the letters that you've signed seem to be a statement of legal position. But you're saying that there is a constitutional right to an abortion.
AMY CONEY BARRETT: Senator, the statement that I signed from the St. Joseph County Right to Life didn't say anything about rape or incest or any of those things. It simply validated the teaching of my church on the sacredness of life from conception to natural death.
You're-- but you're quoting positions from the St. Joseph County Right to Life. I'm not a member of that organization. And so I'm not responsible for statements that they make.
The statement that I signed said what you and I have discussed, and it said nothing further than that. And as for what policy position someone might take, you know, as I've said to your colleagues, I just-- it's not up to me to be in the business of expressing views. And I am happy to talk about views that I expressed when I was a private citizen. But now I'm a judge, and so I cannot publicly express views.
RICHARD BLUMENTHAL: Your legal position-- IVF treatment-- and I'm not going to ask again, just this last time, criminalizing it-- would it be constitutional? I think there's a clear answer.
AMY CONEY BARRETT: But Senator, I've repeatedly said-- as has every other nominee who sat in this seat-- that we can't answer questions in the abstract. That would have to be decided in the course of the judicial process, with a ca-- some legislature would actually have to do that. And then litigants would have to come to court.
RICHARD BLUMENTHAL: Do you think that it would be constitutional to make it a crime for doctors or health providers to provide that care or abortion care?
AMY CONEY BARRETT: Well, Senator, again, that's a hypothetical question. And so, as I've said, to give off-the-cuff responses about abstract issues-- and I should clarify to say it really doesn't matter if they're hard questions or easy questions. It's just any questions that call for an abstract legal opinion are not ones that are appropriate for me to give, either as a sitting judge or as a nominee. Those questions and my judicial role can be answered only through the judicial process.