Senate Judiciary Committee holds hearing of justice nominee
Monday began the four-day confirmation hearing of President Donald Trump’s second nomination to the United States Supreme Court, Judge Amy Coney Barrett.
The Senate Judiciary Committee, led by Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, is comprised of 22 senators. When the president nominates someone to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court, the responsibility falls to the Senate Judiciary Committee to hold a hearing “where the nominee provides testimony and responds to questions from members of the panel,” according to the committee’s website.
When Sen. Graham began the hearing on Monday, he called the hearing to confirm justices to the Supreme Court “one of the most important jobs the Senate Judiciary Committee will ever do.”
Each member of the committee was then given 10 minutes to make an opening statement, followed by an introduction of the nominee and her opening statement.
In Sen. Graham’s opening statement, he recalled that the late Supreme Court Justice and “icon of progressive circles” Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died on Sept. 18, was confirmed by a senate vote of 96 – 3.
“I don’t know what happened between then and now,” Sen. Graham said, “I guess we can all take some blame. I just want to remind everybody, there was a time in this country when someone like Ruth Bader Ginsburg was seen by almost everybody as qualified for the position of being on the Supreme Court, understanding that she would have a different political philosophy than many of the Republicans who voted for her.”
According to Sen. Graham’s opening statement, Barrett is a “highly respected” and “widely admired” and has served as a judge on the seventh judicial circuit since 2017, when she was confirmed to that position by a bipartisan vote. Barrett taught at the University of Notre Dame, where, three times, she was chosen by students as the best professor of the year.
“To my democratic colleagues,” Sen. Graham said, “I respect you all. We’ve done some things together, and we’ve had some fights in this committee. I will try to give you the time you need to make your case, and you have every right in the world to make your case. I think I know how the vote’s going to come out, but I think Judge Barrett is required, for the good of the nation, to submit to your questions and hours. This is going to be a long, contentious week. I will just ask one thing of the committee: to the extent possible, let’s make it respectful, let’s make it challenging and let’s remember the world is watching.”
In the opening statement of ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, Senator Dianne Feinstein of California, she said, “I believe we should not be moving forward on this nomination.”
“Not until the election has ended, and the next president has taken office,” Sen. Feinstein said.
After the first day of the senators’ opening statements, the hearing continued into Tuesday and Wednesday, when the nominee, Judge Barrett, fielded (https://www.c-span.org/video/?476316-1/barrett-confirmation-hearing-day-2-part-1) questions from members of the Judiciary Committee, and closed on Thursday.
According to an article by The Hill, the Judiciary Committee will vote on the nomination on Oct. 22, before moving the nomination to a full senate vote. Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut declined to say whether or not Democratic members will boycott the Oct. 22 Judiciary Committee meeting.
NPR reported that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who sets the senate’s schedule, is expected to arrange for a full senate vote to confirm the nomination to the Supreme Court a week before the upcoming presidential election.
Candidates hold town hall events at the same time
According to an article by The Hill, both presidential candidates, former Vice President Joe Biden and incumbent President Donald Trump, simultaneously held televised town hall events on separate news channels, instead of coming together for a second debate.
Both candidates’ town halls aired at 8 p.m. on Thursday; the president’s on NBC from Miami, Florida, and his challenger’s on ABC from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Commission on Presidential Debates had originally scheduled the second debate for Thursday evening, but scrapped the idea after Oct. 2, when Trump tested positive for COVID-19, and then refused to participate in a virtual debate.
Two cities in Oregon sue federal government
On Wednesday, the city of Oakland and Portland in Oregon filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for its use of federal agents to control protests this summer, according to the Associated Press.
The cities claimed that over the summer the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Marshall Service unlawfully deputized dozens of local police officers in spite of objections from the municipal governments. Protesters arrested by the deputized federal agents could face federal charges with harsher penalties.
The lawsuit also cited the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, stating that state officials can not be mandated to enforce federal law.
Although the lawsuit mainly focuses on the federal government’s activity in the city of Portland, Oakland joined the lawsuit over concerns that local police officers might be deputized there, as well.
According to the U.S. Attorney for Oregon, Billy J. Williams, more than 80 people have been charged with federal crimes related to the protests.