Ah, day two of the Amy Coney Barrett confirmation hearing. I don’t know about you, but this exactly what I think the government should be prioritizing in the midst of a global pandemic while most of the population is worrying about how they’re going to afford next month’s rent.
During Tuesday’s hearing, Vice Presidential candidate Kamala Harris questioned Judge Amy Coney Barrett about the Affordable Care Act, specifically about whether Barrett had heard about Trump’s assertion that he would only nominate judges who would strike down the ACA. “Prior to your nomination,” Harris asked, “Were you aware of President Trump’s statements committing to nominate judges who will strike down the Affordable Care Act? And I’d appreciate a yes or no answer please.”
Barrett, unsurprisingly, circumvented answering the question, saying many meaningless words before eventually landing on “I don’t recall”—a response consistent with her refusal to answer straightforward questions throughout the second day of the hearing. The two went back and forth on the minutiae of the phrasing of Harris’s question, but the VP candidate’s prosecutorial experience shone through in her unwillingness to let Barrett’s evasiveness distract from her line of inquiry. “Well I imagine you were surrounded by a team of folks that helped prepare you for this nomination hearing.... Did they inform you of the President’s statements and that this might be a question that was presented to you during the course of this hearing?”
Barrett’s response was both unclear and mildly irritated. “I have never made a commitment, I’ve never been asked to make a commitment, and I hope that the committee would trust in my integrity not to even entertain such an idea, and that I wouldn’t violate my oath if I were confirmed, and heard that case.”
Barrett’s near-blanket refusal to provide a clear answer on questions surrounding issues as fundamental as health care is a frustrating reminder that this hearing isn’t much more than political theater, a performance for a populace who doesn’t even have a say in the process.