McConnell Praises Judge Barrett and Denounces Attacks on Judicial Independence
‘Judge Barrett understands a judge’s only loyalties must be to our laws and our Constitution. She understands our system would collapse if judges do not leave politics aside. If the Democratic Party feels differently, if Democrats have decided that judicial independence is simply an inconvenience to their radical agenda, it just shows how little weight we should afford their criticisms of this outstanding nominee.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to be Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court:
“This week, the Senators who are sitting down with Judge Amy Coney Barrett are meeting an incredibly impressive jurist and highly qualified nominee.
“They’re hearing from the professor whom former colleagues call, quote, ‘mind-blowingly intelligent,’ ‘one of the most humble people you’re going to meet’ and ‘the complete package.’
“They’re meeting the law-school valedictorian and award-winning academic whom peers praise for her ‘lucid, elegant prose’, ‘piercing’ legal analysis, and ‘absolute dedication to the rule of law’.
“And Senators are meeting the distinguished circuit judge whom the liberal law professor Noah Feldman says is ‘a brilliant and conscientious lawyer’ who is ‘highly qualified to serve on the Supreme Court.’
“Some of our Democratic colleagues have decided they will refuse to meet with Judge Barrett.
“Several have volunteered that their votes will have nothing to do with her qualifications — as though that were something to be proud of.
“The Democratic Leader says, quote, ‘it’s not her qualifications.’ The junior Senator for Delaware says ‘this isn’t about her qualifications.’
“Certainly, every Senator may define ‘advice and consent’ how they wish. But I think it is telling to see Senate Democrats openly affirming that Judge Barrett’s actual judicial qualifications do not matter to them.
“Our friends on the left really do mistake the Court as an unelected super-legislature. They are not interested in Judge Barrett’s legal qualifications because they think judges are there to dictate policy outcomes, rather than following the facts and the text wherever they lead.
“That’s why we’ve gotten the same scare tactics for almost half a century. John Paul Stevens was going to end women’s rights. David Souter was going to send vulnerable people into the Dark Ages. John Roberts was going to declare war on health insurance.
“And now our Democratic colleagues want Americans to believe that Judge Barrett is on a one-woman crusade to hurt Americans with pre-existing conditions.
“One Senator has literally claimed this nominee would, quote, ‘create a humanitarian catastrophe.’
“The same old scare tactics. Totally predictable and totally dishonest.
“These baseless attacks over healthcare are supposedly founded on a technical argument in a four-year-old scholarly article. Then-Professor Barrett analyzed the Supreme Court’s ruling on one piece of Obamacare – the unfair, unpopular individual mandate penalty – which Congress has since zeroed out.
“The constitutional arguments over whether that terrible idea was a ‘penalty’ or a ‘tax’ are now moot. Because whatever you want to call it, Republicans in Congress zeroed it out three years ago.
“Working Americans are no longer being penalized by that Democrat policy. Americans with pre-existing conditions are still protected. And that specific legal question is moot.
“Our Democratic colleagues are grasping at straws. Now they want Judge Barrett to promise to recuse herself from whole categories of cases. Of course, that’s ridiculous.
“It is hard to think of anyone in the country over whom a president has less leverage than a judge with a lifetime appointment.
“Nobody suggested Justice Sotomayor or Justice Kagan needed to categorically sit on the sidelines until President Obama had left office. This is just a back-door attempt to impugn Judge Barrett’s integrity.
“If Senators believe this nominee is committed to impartial justice in every case, if they believe she will mean her oath when she takes it, they should vote to confirm her. If they don’t, they should vote no.
“But only one of those judgments has any basis in Judge Barrett’s resume, her reputation, and the praise that has been showered on her jurisprudence even by famous liberal lawyers.
“Judge Barrett has already stated in writing to the Senate that she has given nobody at the White House any hints or any assurances about any kinds of cases, real or hypothetical.
“It is only Senate Democrats who are trying to extract promises and pre-commitments. It is only Democrats who are trying to undermine judicial independence.
“Last night, on national television, former Vice President Biden refused to rule out the radical notion of packing the Court. He ducked the question.
“Last year, our colleague Senator Harris said explicitly that she was open to it. Numerous of our colleagues have refused to rule out this radical institution-shattering step.
“And now Senate Democrats are trying to make Judge Barrett pre-commit to handle hypothetical issues the way they want. More disrespect for judicial independence.
“Judge Barrett understands a judge’s only loyalties must be to our laws and our Constitution. She understands our system would collapse if judges do not leave politics aside.
“If the Democratic Party feels differently, if Democrats have decided that judicial independence is simply an inconvenience to their radical agenda, it just shows how little weight we should afford their criticisms of this outstanding nominee.”
Related Issues: Senate Democrats, Supreme Court