President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett faced fresh questioning at her Senate confirmation hearing on Wednesday, with the panel’s Republican chairman lauding her as “unashamedly pro-life”.
- Amy Coney Barrett faces her third day at a hearing before she can be confirmed as a Supreme Court judge
- Republican Senator Lindsey Graham lauded her credentials to begin the day
- She has previously deflected when questioned on issues involving abortion and LGBTQ rights
Democrats worry she could vote to overturn the 1973 ruling legalising abortion nationwide.
Judge Barrett, a conservative federal appellate judge who is the Republican President’s third selection for a lifetime job on the top US judicial body, was in the third day of her four-day Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing.
“This is history being made folks,” Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, the chairman of the panel, said.
“This is the first time in American history that we’ve nominated a woman who is unashamedly pro-life and embraces her faith without apology, and she’s going to the court. A seat at the table is waiting for you.”
“It will be a great signal to all young women who share your view of the world.”
Under questioning by Senator Graham, Judge Barrett reiterated her comments from Tuesday that the landmark 1973 Roe versus Wade ruling that recognised a woman’s constitutional right to abortion was not a “super-precedent” that could never potentially be overturned.
Judge Barrett, a devout Catholic, told the committee on Tuesday she could set aside her religious beliefs in making judicial decisions.
She would be the fifth woman to serve on the court and the second Republican appointee.
During 11 hours of questioning on Tuesday, she sidestepped questions on contentious social issues and told the committee she had no agenda on issues such as the Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare.
Democrats said Judge Barrett would threaten healthcare for millions of Americans and the Senate should not consider filling the vacancy until after the presidential election.
The 48-year-old would tilt the court even further to the right, giving conservative justices a 6-3 majority.
Republicans have a 53-47 Senate majority, making Judge Barrett’s confirmation a virtual certainty.
Judge Barrett has declined to say whether she would recuse herself from the major Obamacare case to be argued on November 10, in which Trump and Republican-led states are seeking to invalidate the law.
She said the case centres on a different legal issue than two previous Supreme Court rulings upholding Obamacare that she has criticised.
Judge Barrett previously also refused to say whether the 2015 ruling legalising gay marriage nationwide was wrongly decided.
She deflected Democrats’ questions about whether she would participate in any dispute resulting from the November 3 presidential election, promising only to follow rules giving justices the final say on recusal.
Mr Trump has urged the Senate, controlled by his fellow Republicans, to confirm Judge Barrett before Election Day.