Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. US Election 2020
11 October 2020updated 28 Jul 2021 5:37am

Donald Trump remains committed to Amy Coney Barrett as hearings approach

The US president appears intent on getting his Supreme Court nominee on the bench as early as possible.

By Emily Tamkin

The hearings to confirm Amy Coney Barrett to the US Supreme Court are set to begin this coming Monday. Yes, the election is less than four weeks away. Yes, people have already started voting; and yes, the Republican-controlled Senate refused to give Barack Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland, a hearing with over 200 days to go to the election. And yet, still, Barrett’s hearings are scheduled to begin on Monday.

Democratic Senators are expected to participate in the process, not reject it outright. They are also likely to focus on healthcare, since the Supreme Court could rule this autumn whether to kill the Affordable Care Act, and Barrett previously said that she disagreed with a decision by Chief Justice John Roberts to let the Act live another day. Many American voters support keeping the Affordable Care Act, but also support letting the next president fill the seat.

In contrast, Democrats are expected to stay away from Barrett’s faith, and presumably, from her membership of the conservative Catholic group People of Praise. One Republican narrative surrounding Barrett’s nomination was that Democrats are opposed to her because she is Catholic (concerns about past judicial decisions against a woman’s right to choose and membership in a conservative group have been painted as antagonism toward Catholics and people of faith). Yet Biden is a practising Catholic, as are five of the eight justices currently on the bench.

The hearings wll be conducted virtually, since several Republican Senators have Covid-19. The White House event at which Barrett’s nomination was announced, which was conducted in part outside and in part inside, appears to have been something of a super spreader gathering. The virtual nature of the hearings is a reminder of that, but also of the fact the United States is currently in a pandemic and there is, at present, no deal for a stimulus that might help the American people economically survive it.

Earlier this week, Trump said that stimulus talks were off the table. He now says they are back on. Unwavering throughout, however, has been the president’s commitment to getting Amy Coney Barrett on the bench as quickly as possible.

Sign up for The New Statesman’s newsletters Tick the boxes of the newsletters you would like to receive. Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. A weekly newsletter helping you fit together the pieces of the global economic slowdown. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The best of the New Statesman, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A newsletter showcasing the finest writing from the ideas section and the NS archive, covering political ideas, philosophy, criticism and intellectual history - sent every Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.

Content from our partners
How to create a responsible form of “buy now, pay later”
“Unions are helping improve conditions for drivers like me”
Transport is the core of levelling up