Judge Barrett To Klobuchar: ‘I Don’t Attack People, Just Ideas’

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Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett came more than prepared this week for attacks from Democrats.

Barrett set the record straight during a line of questioning from Minnesota Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar on Tuesday, telling the Democratic lawmaker she never “attacks people, just ideas.”

“Did you say that? That he pushed the Affordable Care Act beyond its plausible meaning?” asked Klobuchar.

“You said that I criticized Chief Justice Roberts. I don’t attack people, just ideas,” said Judge Barrett.

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While being grilled by Democrat Senator Dick Durbin, Barrett told Durbin “I am not hostile to the ACA. I am not hostile to any statute that you pass.”

She then explained: “I apply the law, I follow the law. You make the policy.”

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During a different part of the hearing, Barrett declined to weigh in on expanding seats to the Supreme Court.

Under questioning from Republican Senator Mike Lee, Barrett noted that there was no constitutional provision dictating how many justices should be on the Supreme Court.

Some Democrats have proposed adding seats to the Supreme Court to counter the conservative majority on the court. Lee asked Barrett whether she thought that expanding the court would upset the balance of the three branches of government.

“It’s difficult for me to imagine what specific constitutional question you’re asking me,” Barrett replied, saying that the question was too hypothetical.

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris have sidestepped questions on expanding the court for weeks. However, Biden said on Monday that he was “not a fan” of adding seats to the court.

Lee accused Democrats of wanting to expand the court but did not ask any more specific questions of Barrett.

Barrett also had a powerful moment when she discussed the impact of George Floyd’s death on her family.

Durbin asked Barrett whether she had watched the video of the death of Floyd, a Black man who died after being pinned to the ground for nearly nine minutes by police officers in May.

Barrett, who has two adopted Black children from Haiti, said she had seen the video, and that it had been “very, very personal” for herself and her family. She described explaining Floyd’s death to her children, and how they struggled with it.

“My children, to this point in their life, have had the benefit of growing up in a cocoon where they have not yet experienced hatred or violence,” Barrett said.

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Barrett was also asked whether she believed that systemic racism existed in the country.

She said that she believes it is an “entirely uncontroversial and obvious statement” to say “that racism persists in our country.” But she said that “putting her finger on the nature of the problem” was not her responsibility.

“Giving broader statements or making, you know, broader diagnoses about the problem of racism is kind of beyond what I’m capable of doing as a judge,” Barrett said.

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