Amy Coney Barrett is one of the most well-prepared nominees for the Supreme Court in recent memory. I witnessed this firsthand when I met with her last month, and her performance in her nomination hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee proved that beyond a doubt.
Her legal bona fides are without question, and she very clearly articulated her vision that the role of a Supreme Court justice is to interpret the law, not create law through judicial activism.
Unfortunately, in these polarized times, this has not stopped Senate Democrats from painting Judge Barrett as a legal Godzilla, intent on ripping the columns from the Supreme Court building and burning down the judicial branch. Their disdain for this strong, independent woman goes back years, and began with unprovoked and unacceptable attacks on her Catholic faith.
In 2017, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., told Ms. Barrett, then a nominee for an appeals court position, that “the dogma lives loudly within you.” It has been clear since then that my colleagues on the left hold a grudge. Democrats’ assertion that you can’t possibly be a person of strong faith and serve as a Supreme Court justice became so ingrained that, leading up to the nomination hearings, they flooded cable television in an effort to walk back their attacks. An Associated Press headline on last week's nomination hearings read, “Democrats walk tightrope on Barrett’s faith.”
Let’s be honest here: There is no tightrope to walk. All you have to do is respect people’s faith, not hold it against them.
With their first attempts to foil Ms. Barrett’s nomination defeated, Senate Democrats pivoted to baseless attacks regarding health care. While ignoring the fact that literally no member of the Senate wants to repeal protections for preexisting conditions, they want you to believe that a hardworking, Midwestern mother of seven wants to destroy health care coverage across the nation.
Judge Barrett repeated, ad nauseum, all week that she is “not hostile” to the Affordable Care Act. Yet we were all treated to 30-minute diatribes, some not even ending in questions, from Judiciary Committee Democrats on how Amy Coney Barrett means the end of health care in America as we know it.
I have many issues with the Affordable Care Act and how it has changed our health care system for the worse. It is fine to attack me one way or the other for my position. But Judge Barrett is now, and will continue to be, a neutral arbiter for justice. The Supreme Court should operate outside political lines, caring only for the rule of law.
Although I disagreed with his decision striking down challenges to the Affordable Care Act, Chief Justice John Roberts showed justices cannot be put into a political box. In fact, a 2015 study shows that as they age, Supreme Court justices become more liberal, not more conservative.
Fortunately for Judge Barrett, these misguided Democratic attacks regarding health care did not work. This has left Democrats with their final option — one that their presidential candidate refuses to talk about. Court-packing is absolutely on their agenda. To be clear, while they try to muddy the definition of court-packing to include simply filling open judicial seats, what Democrats want to do is add new seats to the Supreme Court because they did not get their way.
Joe Biden's refusal to give a definitive answer on court-packing shows his campaign knows the country would disagree with an outdated practice that has not been tried in any significant way in about 80 years.
While not surprising that a well-qualified woman nominated to the Supreme Court by a Republican president is driving Democrats crazy, it is still wildly disappointing. They cannot attack Judge Barrett’s record, so they attack her religion, her family and her integrity.
The good news is they will not win. Judge Barrett will be seated on the Supreme Court soon, and the American judiciary will be strengthened because of it. She’s not Godzilla but rather an architect of a better future.
U.S. Sen. Tim Scott is a Republican from South Carolina.