Oct 13, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Amy Coney Barrett pressed on abortion beliefs during Senate hearing

Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday that she doesn't have a judicial "agenda" on abortion — and declined to answer if she believes that Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided and can be overturned.

Why it matters: Barrett, whose confirmation would tilt the balance of the Supreme Court to a 6-3 conservative majority, is under pressure by Senate Democrats to outline how she would rule on health care, elections and abortion cases. In 2006, Barrett signed an open letter calling Roe v. Wade "barbaric" and "an exercise of raw judicial power."

What she's saying: "I completely understand why you're asking the question, but, again, I can't pre-commit or say, 'Yes, I'm going in with some agenda,' because I'm not. ... I have an agenda to stick to the rule of law and decide cases as they come."

The big picture: Barrett's confirmation process began in the Senate on Monday and is on track to take less than a month.

  • Her opening statement noted that "policy decisions and value judgments of government must be made by the political branches elected by and accountable to the People" — not the judicial branch.
  • "Courts have a vital responsibility to enforce the rule of law, which is critical to a free society. But courts are not designed to solve every problem or right every wrong in our public life," Barrett said at Monday's hearing.

Go deeper: How Amy Coney Barrett would change the way the Supreme Court works

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