Senator Richard Blumenthal (D., Conn.) grilled Judge Amy Coney Barrett during Tuesday’s Supreme Court confirmation hearing over her pro-life stance and whether she would agree with the Court’s ruling in Roe v. Wade.
Republicans are attempting to confirm Barrett to the Court before the November elections, drawing vociferous opposition from Democrats who contend Barrett’s appointment would threaten rights to an abortion as well as the viability of the Affordable Care Act. If confirmed, Barrett would replace liberal justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and solidify a 6-3 conservative majority of justices on the bench.
Senate Democrats have highlighted two anti-abortion statements that Barrett signed. The statements were published in 2013 by the University Faculty for Life, a national pro-life organization, and in 2006 by Saint Joseph County Right to Life, based in South Bend, Ind. During the Tuesday hearing, Senator Blumenthal questioned Barrett regarding those statements and her position on Roe v. Wade.
“The question that I would like to ask you concerns your legal position,” Blumenthal said. “Does the Constitution protect” the “right to have an abortion?”
“Roe versus Wade clearly held that the Constitution protected a woman’s right to terminate a pregnancy,” Barrett responded.
“The purpose of the letters that you signed seem to be a statement of legal position,” Blumenthal continued, “but you’re saying that there is a constitutional right to abortion?”
“Senator, the statement that I signed from the Saint Joseph County Right to Life…simply validated the teaching of my church on the sacredness of life from conception to natural death,” Barrett said. Later on Barrett added, “I think we might be talking past each other, because the statements that I signed were statements of my personal beliefs, and not—”
“Not your personal belief, your honor, your legal position,” Blumenthal interjected. “Are you willing to say that Roe was correctly decided?”
Barrett answered, “Senator, as I’ve said to other of your colleagues in response to questioning, that it’s inconsistent with the duties of a sitting judge…to take positions on cases that the court has decided in the past.”
Confirmation hearings will end on Thursday, and Senate Republicans will attempt to organize a vote to appoint Barrett by the end of October.