4 highlights from ACB's confirmation hearings day 3: Bush v. Gore, 'Borking,' glass ceiling

Barrett pushes back on criticism of her work in Bush v. Gore

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., brought up Barrett’s involvement in the Bush v. Gore case, where she worked “on an absentee ballot issue on behalf of the Republican side.”

Klobuchar proceeded to make the case that Barrett’s work on behalf of Republicans in the Supreme Court case that decided the 2000 presidential election played a role in Trump’s decision to select her as his Supreme Court nominee.

“We’re in the middle of a global pandemic that is forcing voters to choose between their health and their vote,” Klobuchar declared. “Are absentee ballots, or better known as mail-in ballots, an essential way to vote for millions of Americans right now?”

“That’s a matter of policy on which I cannot express a view,” Barrett replied.

Klobuchar was not impressed with her answer.

“To me, that just feels like a fundamental part of our democracy,” Klobuchar said.

The senator and former 2020 presidential candidate also asked Barrett if she had ever voted by mail. She went on to accuse the president of “undermining vote by mail even though a number of … Republican governors and senators are supportive of it.”

Klobuchar circled back to Barrett’s work on behalf of Republicans in the Bush v. Gore case.

“If you are confirmed, the Supreme Court will have not one, not two, but three justices — you, Justice [Brett] Kavanaugh and Chief Justice [John] Roberts — who worked on behalf of the Republican Party in matters related to the Bush v. Gore case. Do you think that that’s a coincidence?” she asked.

“Senator Klobuchar, if you’re asking me whether I was nominated for this seat because I worked on Bush v. Gore for a very brief period of time as a young associate, that doesn’t make sense to me,” Barrett replied.

Klobuchar responded by arguing that her nomination would mean that three justices with Gore v. Bush background, two of whom were appointed by Trump, could decide any cases related to the 2020 election. 

"Do you think that will undermine the legitimacy of the Court?” Klobuchar asked. 

The judge responded by accusing Klobuchar of "trying to elicit a question about whether it would be appropriate for justices who participated in that litigation to sit on a case rather than recuse."

She described Klobuchar’s inquiry as a “legal question” and reiterated her position that she would not “pre-commit” to recusing herself from a hypothetical case involving an election dispute.

“I think the public has a right to know that now three of these justices have worked on the Republican side on a major, major issue related to a presidential election,” Klobuchar concluded.

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