The confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett began Monday on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., where Barrett appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee amid a coronavirus pandemic that has left more than 210,000 Americans dead. While Republicans spent their opening statements bracing for possible attacks on Barrett’s religion, Democrats largely focused on the potential of a Barrett confirmation resulting in the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, which comes before the high court next month.
See below for a complete recap of day one.
A recap of day 4:
• The fourth and final day of of Amy Coney Barrett's Supreme Court confirmation hearings wrapped up with testimony from outside witnesses both for and against her nomination.
• Barrett herself was not present.
• The Senate Judiciary Committee set an Oct. 22 date to recommend Barrett’s confirmation and send it to the full Senate for a vote by month's end.
• Witnesses speaking out against Barrett's confirmation to the Supreme Court gave personal accounts in favor of abortion rights and the Affordable Care Act, which advocates say could be in danger if Barrett becomes the ninth justice on the high court.
• Witnesses speaking in favor of Barrett's confirmation attested to Barrett's character, scholarship and originalist interpretation of the Constitution. Witnesses included the first blind woman to clerk on the Supreme Court, a former student of Barrett's from Notre Dame Law School.
Hearings end with moment of bipartisanship
Despite a contentious 2020 presidential election season, the Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Amy Coney Barrett concluded with a moment of camaraderie between the opposing parties led by Chairman Lindsey Graham and ranking member Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.
"This has been one of the best set of hearings that I have participated in," Feinstein said. "I want to thank you for your fairness and the opportunity of going back and forth. It leaves one with a lot of hopes, a lot of questions, and even some ideas, perhaps some good bipartisan legislation we can put together to make this great country even better. So thank you so much for your leadership."
"To my Democratic colleagues," Graham replied, "you have challenged the judge. You have challenged us, and I accept those challenges as being sincere and not personal. I don't think anybody crossed the line with the judge in terms of trying to demean her as a person."
Booker warns of election violence
Addressing the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday, Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., raised the specter of violent protests that may be sparked by the upcoming U.S. election.
"I never thought I would be having rational conversations with Republican colleagues of mine, far be it just members of my family, that I am fearful of the violence that might happen around an election," Booker said.
And Booker put the blame squarely on President Trump's rhetoric, such as his baseless claims that the election would be "rigged."
"For those of you who don't think this is problematic, we have armed militias now, gearing up," Booker said, pointing to the website ArmyForTrump.com. "This is the cult of a personality. Not defend the United States. Not make a fair election. This is the army of Trump."
Coons homage to RBG
A photo of the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is seen at the seat of Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., during the confirmation hearing for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett on Oct. 15, 2020. (Greg Nash/Pool via Associated Press)
A man protesting against Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett is arrested by police during a demonstration on Capitol Hill Thursday. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)
More audio issues interrupt hearing
For the second day in a row, audio issues with microphones arose as the Supreme Court nomination hearing went into recess.
Physician urges against Barrett's confirmation while defending Affordable Care Act
Speaking as a witness on day 4 of Amy Coney Barrett's confirmation hearings, Dr. Farhan Bhatti, a Michigan physician, urged against Barrett's confirmation to the Supreme Court while arguing in favor of the Affordable Care Act.
"These are just a fraction of the many positive outcomes of the ACA I have witnessed over the years," Bhatti said after sharing two accounts of patients who have benefited from the Affordable Care Act. "Simply put, as a frontline doctor, I witness ever day how the ACA has improved, is improving, and will continue to improve the lives of ordinary, hard working people."
"I’m here to urge against striking down this life-saving law — or confirming to the Supreme Court anyone who would seek to do so," he said.
Democratic senator to GOP: 'Your credibility... will die in this room'
On day four of Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett's confirmation hearing, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., warned that if Republicans continue to push ahead with Barrett's confirmation, they will lose credibility "should the shoe be on the other foot" and there is a Democratic majority in the Senate.
"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 to come to us and say 'Yeah, I know you can do that, but you shouldn't because of x, y and z,'" Whitehouse said. "Your credibility to make that argument at any time in the future will die in this room and on that Senate floor if you continue to proceed in this way."