‘Stunned’: Amy Coney Barrett refuses to say she would keep birth control and same-sex marriage legal

Her rebuttal: 'Well, senator, to suggest that’s the America i want to create isn ‘t based on any facts in my record’

John T. Bennett
Washington Bureau Chief
Thursday 15 October 2020 10:22 BST
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Conservative Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett refused to tell senators if she would vote to overturn decisions that provide legal protections to birth control and same-sex marriage, prompting one Democratic lawmaker to say her silence on those issues left him “stunned.”

Senate Judiciary Committee member Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and the federal appellate judge clashed in one of the most pointed exchanges of the second day of her questioning by the panel. He pressed her on past decisions by US federal courts, including the Supreme Court, on both hot-button issues.

As she has on issues ranging from the 2011 Affordable Care Act to whether a president can both pardon himself and unilaterally delay an election, Ms Barrett declined to state clearly how she would rule if challenges to those previous decisions reached a high court on which she was a jurist.

“I am surprised and I think a lot of Americans will ne scared by the idea that people who simply want to marry or have a relationship with the person they love could find it criminalized, could find marriage equality cut back,” Mr Blumenthal said. “I think it would be an America where I wouldn’t want to live.”

Though she remained cool and calm, as she has the entire three days of her confirmation hearing, the nominee did appear less-than-pleased with the line of questioning.

“Well, senator, to suggest that’s the America i want to create isn ‘t based on any facts in my record,” she said, despite writings she has published in law journals taking conservative stances on those and other matters. 

She contended a passage from one of those articles he read aloud merely reflected her saying that judges questioning the legality of such issues is “par for the course” in a legal decision-making venue.

Ms Barrett told the senator she did not want to give people the impression that contraception soon will be illegal.

But she would not say whether she would have ruled with the majority in one case that upheld legal birth control.

“I am stunned you won’t say you would have been in the majority,” he said before moving to a new topic.

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