Ted Cruz (R-TX), in his patient and smarmy way, explained history to his colleagues on the Senate on Thursday during the confirmation hearing of Judge Amy Coney Barrett. After a full week of non-answers to every question, no matter how benign, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) then explained confirmation hearings to the silent Ted Cruz.
Sen. Dick Durbin says confirmation process has become "almost useless" and that Barrett refused answers about rights spelled out in the Constitution: "I would be afraid to ask her about the presence of gravity on Earth. She may decline to answer because it may come up in a case" pic.twitter.com/p0quPXu4WA
— CBS News (@CBSNews) October 15, 2020
With his usual smirk, Cruz insinuated that Democrats are just salty because they didn’t even get the courtesy of a confirmation hearing for President Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland, when Justice Antonin Scalia passed just short of a year before a presidential election in 2016. Cruz patronizingly reminded Democrats that Republican presidents and Republican senators get to confirm judges when they hold power, and they’ll do it this year because they can, despite the hypocrisy.
‘I recognize our Democratic friends wish a different president had been elected in 2016. I am sympathetic to those arguments. I recognize our Democratic friends wish there was a Democratic majority in the Senate, but the voters decided otherwise. This committee moving forward is consistent with over 200 years of history and precedent.’
On Day 4 of the Barrett confirmation hearings, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) says, “What was the purpose of this hearing if we've reached a point now where we really don’t know what she thinks about any issues, any major issues?” pic.twitter.com/l2xlWIOPgB
— The Recount (@therecount) October 15, 2020
Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin then, just as patiently so he could understand, explained exactly why this confirmation process doesn’t follow historical president, namely because the legislative body is so deeply divided that the GOP nominee, Barrett, is unable to answer basic questions during the hearing because they might cause controversy. Although a nominee shouldn’t answer questions on policy, it has been strikingly odd how Barrett refused to answer questions on basic constitutional law, such as whether the Constitution allows for a president to delay an election or whether climate change is real.
‘One of the things we have witnessed here in the time I have served on this committee is a denigration of the process to the point where it is almost useless. We have reached a point now where gifted, experienced jurists, legal scholars take that seat behind the table and then deny everything, refuse to answer anything. Consider that, a situation where we asked the nominee, can a president unilaterally delay a presidential election? She could not answer it — too political. Too political?’
"It just defies logic": Sen. Dick Durbin says Amy Coney Barrett "hides behind originalism — she's not the only one, many do — but won't even go to the original words of the Constitution when it comes to the transition of power" https://t.co/COWr56xUUB pic.twitter.com/NRaW66Vpxz
— CBS News (@CBSNews) October 15, 2020
With no way to fully question the nominee and get concrete answers, the confirmation process is impossible. Donald Trump has already promised to nominate judges with very specific views on controversial cases, but Barrett’s refusal to answer basically any question doesn’t allow voters to know for sure where she stands on anything. Clearly, she was chosen for her policy positions.
‘We know this process is really stacked. The president told us so repeatedly. We can’t get a direct answer from the nominee, we get direct answers every day from the tweets of the president. We know what his motives were in nominating this person for the Supreme Court, he does not cover it up. It was to make sure there was someone on the court to eliminate the Affordable Care Act.’