Update (0945ET): One of the highlights of Tuesday's Senate confirmation hearing mercifully arrived early in the session as Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the ranking member of the committee, grilled Amy Coney Barrett on whether she would overturn Roe v Wade, an issue that has obsessed Democrats and leftists, who have repeatedly claimed, with the nomination of each new SCOTUS justice, that abortion rights in the US would effectively be doomed.
Feinstein started the interlocution by asking Judge Barrett to introduce the mob of family members (children, siblings etc). She then launched into a review of Barrett's ties to Justice Antonin Scalia, for whom she clerked before embarking on her own career as a judge, before asking Barrett whether she supported Scalia's view that the precedent set by Roe v Wade should be thrown out.
This started a back and forth as Feinstein repeatedly tried to press the question, with Barrett responding that she wouldn't say whether she thought the decision was wrongly decided because "it's contours" could come up again before the court. She added "I don't have any agenda" regarding her personal feelings about abortion, saying again that she would follow the law whereever it leads.
Feinstein ultimately replied that "it's distressing not to get a straight answer".
This probably won't be the last time Dems return to this issue.
So Feinstein asks about precedent in Roe v Wade.— Leigh Ann Caldwell (@LACaldwellDC) October 13, 2020
Amy Coney Barrett says she's not going to comment on precedent.
It's going to be a long day of Democrats asking ACB if she will follow precedent and ACB not answering.
Here's a clip from the back-and-forth.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein pressed SCOTUS nominee Amy Coney Barrett on whether she agrees with the late Justice Scalia that Roe v. Wade should be overturned.— Bloomberg QuickTake (@QuickTake) October 13, 2020
Barrett says she can't comment on aspects of cases that may come before the court. “I have no agenda,” she says pic.twitter.com/48gW7n8iVZ
And here's the two of them holding virtually the same back-and-forth during Barrett's 2017 confirmation hearing for her federal judgeship.
‘You are controversial. Ok, let’s start with that.’ — Watch Sen. Dianne Feinstein press Amy Coney Barrett on overturning Roe v. Wade in 2017 pic.twitter.com/ZflCgfrOpx— NowThis (@nowthisnews) October 12, 2020
The judge added later that nobody should "assume" she would rule exactly like Scalia on anything.
* * *
Judge Amy Coney Barrett spent most of yesterday's hearing sitting silently with her mask on, but on Tuesday, lawmakers will be lobbing questions at Trump's nominee to succeed Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court.
Already during the opening minutes of the hearing, it had become clear that Tuesday would largely focus on Judge Barrett's personal and family life, as well as her conservative religious views. To underline that fact, the judge brought her children and siblings to observe the hearing, a large group which required the C-SPAN cameramen to pan across the audience.
Here's a recap of day 1.