Senators grill Amy Coney Barrett on abortion, healthcare in third day of confirmation hearings

WASHINGTON — Supreme Court Justice nominee Amy Coney Barrett once again declined to say how she would rule on key issues including abortion, healthcare and voting rights in the third day of her confirmation hearings.

Barrett has been sticking to her policy of not giving any hints on her legal views on specific issues, following what’s known as the “Ginsburg rule,” which was a tactic used by her late predecessor Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

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“A judge needs to have an open mind every step of the way,” Barrett said.

“Will you listen to both sides of the argument if it gets to you?” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) asked about abortion rights.

“I will,” Barrett replied.

Democrats said her confirmation would change the balance of the high court to a six to three conservative edge.

Barrett is deeply religious and personally opposes abortion.

Barrett has said the late conservative Justice Antonin Scalia was a mentor when she clerked for him.

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“My core concern here your honor is that your confirmation may launch a new chapter of conservative judicial activism,” said Sen. Chris Coons (D-Delaware).

Democrats pointed to a 2017 law article Barrett wrote criticizing the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act.

Barrett said her academic writings are separate from any possible future rulings.

“I was speaking as an academic,” Barrett said. “An academic serves a very different function than a judge.”

Republicans praised Barrett for her legal career and accused Democrats of using the hearings to make political statements and attack President Trump.

“Very little of the time we’ve spent in here has concerned her record as a judge, her 20 years as a respected scholar,” said Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas).

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Barrett’s confirmation isn’t really in question with a Republican majority in the Senate.

The Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to confirm Barrett next week and it will move on to the full Senate at the end of the month just days before the presidential election.