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Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett declined to tell the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday if she believes the president has the unilateral authority to delay an election, arguing that giving "off-the-cuff answers" would essentially make her a "legal pundit."

Why it matters: President Trump suggested he could delay the election earlier this year. But he has no authority to unilaterally do so under the Constitution. It would take a change in federal law to move the date of the election — which would have to be approved by both chambers of Congress.

What she's saying: Barrett was adamant about not voicing her opinions on potential cases throughout Tuesday's hearing, stating, "If that question ever came before me, I would need to hear arguments from the litigants and read briefs and consult with my law clerks and talk to my colleagues and go through the opinion-writing process."

  • "If I gave off-the-cuff answers then I would be basically a legal pundit, and I don't think we want judges to be legal pundits," she added.
  • "I think we want judges to approach cases thoughtfully and with an open mind."

The big picture: Barrett has been under pressure from Senate Democrats to address potential cases involving Trump, including disputes over the 2020 election results.

  • She testified that she has made "no commitment" to anyone in the executive branch over how she would rule on any cases, including abortion or the challenge to the Affordable Care Act.
  • Barrett also said she would "fully and faithfully apply the law of recusal" if necessary, but that she "can't offer an opinion on recusal without short-circuiting" the traditional process.

Go deeper

Oct 28, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Supreme Court won't expedite Pennsylvania GOP's request to block mail-in ballot extension

Amy Coney Barrett being sworn in by Chief Justice John Roberts. Photo: Fred Schilling/Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States via Getty Images

The Supreme Court voted 5-3 on Wednesday to deny a bid from Pennsylvania Republicans to expedite their request to shorten the deadline for receiving mail-in ballots. Newly confirmed Justice Amy Coney Barrett did not participate in the decision.

Why it matters: A lower court ruling allowing ballots to be counted until 5pm on Nov. 6, as long as they are postmarked by Election Day, will remain in place for now.

Ipsos poll: COVID trick-or-treat

Data: Axios/Ipsos poll; Note ±3.3% margin of error for the total sample size; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

About half of Americans are worried that trick-or-treating will spread coronavirus in their communities, according to this week's installment of the Axios/Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

Why it matters: This may seem like more evidence that the pandemic is curbing our nation's cherished pastimes. But a closer look reveals something more nuanced about Americans' increased acceptance for risk around activities in which they want to participate.

Updated 9 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: The good and bad news about antibody therapies — Fauci: Hotspots have materialized across "the entire country."
  2. World: Belgium imposes lockdown, citing "health emergency" due to influx of cases.
  3. Economy: Conference Board predicts economy won’t fully recover until late 2021.
  4. Education: Surge threatens to shut classrooms down again.
  5. Technology: The pandemic isn't slowing tech.
  6. Travel: CDC replaces COVID-19 cruise ban with less restrictive "conditional sailing order."
  7. Sports: High school football's pandemic struggles.
  8. 🎧Podcast: The vaccine race turns toward nationalism.