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Real drama will come after Barrett is confirmed

Mike Littwin
The Colorado Sun

Let’s stipulate, as they say in the law biz, that Amy Coney Barrett is a fine person. That she’s a smart person. That she has a beautiful family. And that if the standard for being a Supreme Court justice is a good working knowledge of the Constitution and constitutional law, then she’s certainly qualified.

Now let’s also stipulate that none of that matters.

If you watched the hearings, you saw Barrett present herself as a neutral party in considering any case, not unlike Chief Justice John Roberts, who famously said in his confirmation hearing that he would call only balls and strikes. There’s a difference, of course. Umpires have a strike zone to deal with. Supreme Court justices do not.

But everyone watching — and everyone not watching — understands that Republicans are desperate to ram through Barrett’s nomination, during a pandemic and during the final weeks of an election, because they fully expect the 48-year-old federal judge would be a reliable, longstanding vote on their side. (And, yes, Democrats also pick like-minded jurists when nominating a Supreme Court justice, if they ever get to nominate another one.)

Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse made a more-than-convincing argument that if you look at Trump’s statements, if you look at the Republican Party platform, if you track the dark money behind Trump’s Supreme Court nominees, if you know the Federalist Society that vets Trump’s court selections, there is no one who can reasonably deny that the reason Barrett was selected was because they expected her to overturn Roe v. Wade. As Whitehouse said, it’s not him saying that. It’s Trump and the Republican Party saying it. Same for Obergefell. Same for Obamacare, which gets a Supreme Court hearing a week after Election Day in yet another attempt to gut or even strike down the law.

That’s the issue. Don’t expect any Kavanaugh-like drama from these hearings. Despite Republican insistence on accusing Democrats of religious bigotry, you can bet that Barrett’s faith will never come up. There was some tough questioning, but Barrett was never rattled.

To read more on this column, go to coloradosun.com.

Mike Littwin has been a columnist for too many years to count. He has covered Dr. J, four presidential inaugurations, six national conventions and countless brain-numbing speeches in the New Hampshire and Iowa snow.

The Colorado Sun is a nonpartisan news organization, and the opinions of columnists and editorial writers do not reflect the opinions of the newsroom. Read our ethics policy for more on The Sun’s opinion policy and submit columns, suggested writers and more to opinion@coloradosun.com.


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