Pressed On Landmark Contraception Case, Barrett Again Declines To Answer

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Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., looks on as Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the third day of her confirmation hearings.

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Coons responded by pointing out that during their confirmation hearings, current Justices John Roberts, Samuel Alito, Brett Kavanaugh and Elena Kagan all spoke about Griswold.

«Your predecessors talked about Griswold in detail,» Coons said. «In fact Justice Kagan, who you’ve been citing on the ‘no grading,’ said ‘I do’ that she’s willing to speak to it and ‘as every nominee has, I do support the result in Griswold,’ » he added.

Again, Barrett responded by saying it was highly unlikely Griswold would ever go away.

But in Little Sisters of the Poor v. Pennsylvania, the high court ruled the Trump administration had the right to allow employers to deny contraceptive coverage on the basis of religion.


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Throughout the hearings this week, Democrats have centered on the issue of precedent and have asked Barrett, with little success, about her views on landmark cases in an attempt to gauge her commitment to it.

Barrett has repeatedly cited early Supreme Court nominees, including Kagan and the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, in her avoidance of giving specific viewpoints.

Many Democrats fear Barrett would move to overrule some of the court’s precedents, particularly Roe, based on her writings. Coons pointed to a 2013 Texas Law Review article in which Barrett argued that a Supreme Court justice should disregard precedent if she believes an earlier ruling was incorrectly founded.

When asked about Roe on Tuesday, Barrett told Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., that she did not consider the case to be a super-precedent. Barrett described super-precedents as cases that are so widely agreed upon that no one would ever push for them to be overruled, such as Brown v. Board of Education.

«Roe is not a super-precedent because calls for its overruling have never ceased, but that doesn’t mean that Roe should be overruled,» Barrett said.

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