Analysis on the Amy Coney Barrett confirmation hearings
Oct. 14, 2020
The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee is holding confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Justice Nominee Amy Coney Barrett.
For analysis on the hearings, we spoke with attorney Stephen Montoya.
Throughout the hearing, Montoya said, “I heard a lot of highly political speeches by our elected representatives in the United States Senate. Not much about anything else.”
“The nominee, future Justice Barrett has adhered to the tradition of really refusing to answer virtually any meaningful question, because it might come before her as a justice.”
A topic that has taken a stance within the hearing is the Affordable Care Act. Montoya said, “the Supreme Court is going to consider that very issue on November 11.”
Barrett has the potential to be confirmed and sworn in before that time and actually participate in the oral argument on the case next month.
Montoya said that Barrett may not favor the ACA because, even though she “denied it in the hearing, she has given several speeches and she’s written one Law Review article that was critical of the chief justices” who favored the ACA.
In these hearings Barrett has referred to herself as a “textualist” and an “originalist.”
Montoya said, “in my opinion it doesn’t mean a lot. It’s a deceptive piece of rhetoric, a textualist or an originalist claims to interpret the law, as it’s written.”
He agrees with the concept but explained “there are very broad phrases in the constitution…saying that we need to look to the original understanding is very problematic because the original understanding really doesn’t exist and is the subject of intense debate.”
Montoya said we are learning a lot about the type of justice Barrett will be based on the “rhetorical devices–I’m a textualist, I’m an originalist.”
He concludes with, “the concept of originalism really allows justices and other judges to pick and choose results that they want, which is okay, and is inevitable. But we have to be aware of that.”