WASHINGTON — Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett calls herself an “originalist.” Barrett, a 7th Circuit judge from Indiana, told senators that she doesn’t think it’s her role to update the Constitution or infuse her policy views into it.
“I interpret the constitution as a law,” Barrett said to the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday. “That I interpret its text as text and I understand it to have the meaning that it had at the time the people ratified it.”
Senator Diane Feinstein continued questioning Barrett about her stance on the second amendment as well as what she feels the role of the Supreme Court actually is.
“Judges can’t just wake up one day and say ‘I have an agenda, I like guns, I hate guns, I like abortion, I hate abortion’ and walk in like a royal queen and impose their will on the world,” said Barrett. “You have to wait for cases and controversies, which is the language of the constitution, to wind their way through the process.”
The Judiciary Committee is holding confirmation hearings on Barrett this week as Senate Republicans try to get her confirmed before the presidential election.
Barrett, a graduate of the University of Notre Dame where she was also a law school professor, noted that her family owns a gun and insisted that it would not prevent her from ruling fairly in a 2nd Amendment case. Barrett was also pressed about being a devout Catholic and vowed to set aside her faith in rulings.
“Can you set aside whatever Catholic beliefs you have regarding any issue before you,” asked Committee Chairman Lindsay Graham.
“I can and I have done that in my time on the 7th Circuit,” Barrett replied. “If I stay on the 7th Circuit I will continue to do that. I’m confirmed I will continue to do that still.”
Barrett would not commit to recusing herself from a Supreme Court case that would overturn the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. The high court will hear the case shortly after the election.
“See, I certainly hope that all members of the committee have more confidence in my integrity than to think that I would allow myself to be a pawn to decide this election for the American people,” Barrett said.
President Trump nominated her to replace the late liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Her confirmation would create a 6-3 conservative majority on the Supreme Court.