Barrett Slams Sen Coons For Assuming Her Stances
Amy Coney Barrett has stated that she some stances that are similar to Justice Scalia. She was referring to originalism and textualism. These refer to how someone interprets the law. But Senator Coons took Barrett's admission that she had similar philosophies to mean that she is just a carbon copy of the former Justice. Coons then went on to say that if she is anything like Justice Scalia then she will believe the following. But Barrett quickly corrected the Senator that was trying speak for her.
“Judge Barrett, in accepting President Trump’s nomination to the Supreme Court, you stated you shared the judicial philosophy of Justice Scalia, your mentor, the justice for whom you clerked. His philosophy, is, of course, originalism, essentially, the idea that the authoritative meaning of the Constitution is what it meant when ratified, whether that was 150 years ago, 240 years ago, but meant when ratified.”
And I think the American people need to better understand what that originalist philosophy could really mean for their everyday lives because I think it means that our entire modern understanding of certain constitutional commitments around liberty, privacy, and equality under the law could in fact be rolled back to 19thor even 18thcentury understandings in a way unrecognizable to most Americans.
Many of these modern notions are rooted in a landmark case decided in 1965, Griswald v. Connecticut, where the Supreme Court held married couples have the right to use contraceptives in the privacy of their own home. In an interview just eight years ago in 2012 on Fox News, Justice Scalia said this decision was wrong, because under his originalist philosophy there’s no such thing as a general “right to privacy” in the Constitution. This is a question most currently serving justices have answered. When we spoke on the phone last week you said you couldn’t think of any specific issue of law where you disagreed with Justice Scalia. Do you agree with him that Griswald was wrongly decided and thus states should be able to make it illegal to use contraceptives if they so chose?"
Barrett then responded.
Well, Senator, as I’ve said a number of times, I can’t express a view, yes or no, A-plus or F —in my other capacity I get to grade, but not in this particular capacity with respect to precedent. I think that Griswald is very, very, very, very, very, very unlikely to go anywhere. In order for Griswald to be overruled you or a state legislature would have to pass a law prohibiting the use of birth control, which seems shockingly unlikely and then a lower court would have to buck Supreme Court precedent and say we’re not following Griswald. Again, seems very unlikely. So I think that it’s an academic question that wouldn’t arise but it’s something that I can’t opine on, particularly because it does lie at the base of substantive due process doctrine, which is something that continues to be litigated in courts today."
Coons then went on to say that her predecessors had commented on it, trying to guilt her into exposing her stances. But Barrett was not falling for it and told him that he is just trying to line up a question about Roe v Wade, which she has also already explained that she would not be talking about.
Coons then explained that Scalia had many viewpoints that he felt many Americans were not going to agree with, so he wanted to know just how closely Barrett's views align with Scalia. Barrett let him know that she is her own justice and to stop making assumptions about where her views lie.
"Well, Senator Coons, to be clear, as I said I think in response to this question yesterday, I do share Justice Scalia’s approach to text, originalism and textualism, but in the litany of cases that you’ve just identified, the particular votes that he cast, are a different question of whether I would agree with the way that he applied those principles in particular cases. And I’ve already said, and I hope that you aren’t suggesting that I don’t have my own mind or that I couldn’t think independently, or that I would just decide, “Let me see what Justice Scalia has said about this in the past,” because I assure you I have my own mind. But everything that he said, is not necessarily what I would agree with or what I would do if I were Justice Barrett. That was Justice Scalia. So I share his philosophy, but I’ve never said that I would always reach the same outcome as he did," Barrett explained to the Dem.
Watch The Clip Here. (starts 25 seconds in)
Coons here is just trying to get Barrett to admit that she has conservative stances, which should be a given. But the way he is going about it is to demonize Scalia since he was her mentor. So he is indirectly attempting to demonize Barrett. Thankfully Barrett is not some delicate flower and lets him know he is in the wrong.