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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

Go deeper

Democrats fret about Garland for attorney general

Judge Merrick Garland. Photo: Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images

If Joe Biden picks Merrick Garland to be his attorney general, he could cost his party control of one of the most important judicial appointments in America — and many Democrats do not want the president-elect to take that chance.

How it works: Biden still hasn't named his choice to lead the Justice Department, and if he taps Garland, it would open up his seat on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. If Democrats don’t win both Georgia Senate runoff seats next month, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would almost surely prevent the president-elect from filling it.

Journalism enters dangerous new era

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

The Capitol attack on Jan. 6 resulted in at least nine physical assaults against journalists and at least five arrests, per the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker's top editor.

Why it matters: President Trump's harsh rhetoric towards the press has empowered leaders abroad and locally in the U.S. to continue to attack press that they don't like.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

The beginning of the beginning for Biden's climate push

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Joe Biden's inauguration and the days right after will bring a rat-tat-tat burst of climate policy moves, but keep this in mind amid the splashy pledges: pushing through most of his agenda will be a long, uncertain slog.

Why it matters: Biden's climate plan is far more expansive than anything contemplated under President Obama. But for all the immediate pledges, it will take years to see how far Biden gets.