In a sign of the heightened scrutiny, Vice President Mike Pence tried to get Harris to reveal whether she and Biden support expanding the Supreme Court, as many liberals advocate. Harris dodged the question at their debate, focusing instead on Republicans’ decision to move forward to fill the current vacancy so close to an election.
SEN. JOSH HAWLEY, R-MO.
Hawley, a conservative and outspoken critic of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision upholding abortion rights, has led GOP efforts to warn Democrats to refrain from criticizing Barrett on the basis of her Catholicism.
Hawley specifically cited Feinstein’s comments about Barrett’s faith during her 2017 nomination hearing for a Chicago-based appeals court post.
“I call on you and every member of the Democratic caucus to publicly reject Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s egregious personal attacks on Judge Barrett’s Christian faith during her previous confirmation hearings, and to pledge you will abstain from that kind of anti-Catholic, anti-Christian, anti-faith vitriol in the hearings to come,” Hawley wrote in a letter to Schumer last month. “You owe it to the country.”
Democrats call Hawley’s comments off-base. No Democrat has criticized Barrett’s religion since her nomination was announced late last month.
SEN. CHRIS COONS, D-DEL.
A longtime Biden loyalist who holds the Democratic presidential nominee’s former Senate seat, Coons was among the first Democrats on the Judiciary panel to meet with Barrett, although he did so by phone because of the pandemic.
Coons said he would attend the hearings in person, although other members with health concerns will likely ask questions over video. The remote aspect “increases the likelihood that we’re sort of speaking past each other,” Coons said, and is a key reason “we should not be racing ahead with this partisan process.”
Coons told MSNBC that he has been reading Barrett’s opinions and law articles, “and I’m increasingly convinced that she’s even more conservative than (former) Justice (Antonin) Scalia, for whom she clerked on the Supreme Court, and she has demonstrated a willingness to reverse long-settled precedent.”
Voters should remember that Trump has said the reason he is “pressing for her to be seated before the election was so that she could participate in decisions about the election, if it is closely contested, and so she could help overturn the Affordable Care Act,” Coons said.