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

Hawley slams ‘attempted Borking’ of Barrett

Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., accused his colleagues of the Senate Judiciary Committee of trying to “Bork” Barrett.

“I was seven years old when Judge Robert Bork came before this body,” he recalled. “I think the legacy of the Bork hearings continue to reverberate. His name has become a verb.”

“I think what we’ve seen today is an attempted Borking of Judge Amy Barrett,” Hawley argued. “The problem is they don’t have anything in your record that they could use to so badly misconstrue to suggest that you’re somehow going to fundamentally change America.”

The conservative senator argued that the Democrats are trying to attribute to Barrett the "worst readings and most draconian misinterpretations of Justice [Antonin] Scalia."

"So, we take Scalia’s record, we distort that and then we attribute it to you,” he said of the left's strategy. 

“I was under the impression that you are a different person than Justice Scalia and that you had, in your own words, your own mind. Is that fair to say?” 

Barrett responded in the affirmative before Hawley followed up.

“Is it fair to say that you are an independent woman and an independent jurist and an independent professional and also, by the way, a pretty darn good lawyer, and you’ll make up your own mind on the decisions, cases, controversies that come before you to the Supreme Court of the United States?”

When Barrett responded with a “yes,” Hawley urged Democrats to “put to rest this attempt to constantly leverage the worst interpretations of Justice Scalia’s philosophy, misrepresentations and attribute them all to you as if you are the same person.”

He described those attempts as “demeaning and insulting” and praised Barrett for stressing her “independence.”

Hawley’s remarks reflected the fact that throughout Barrett’s confirmation hearings, Democrats have sought to use her admiration for the late Scalia and the judicial philosophy of originalism against her. They have pointed to what they viewed as the late Justice’s most unfavorable opinions and argued that she would reach the same type of conclusions in cases that came before her.

Bork, nominated by President Ronald Reagan to serve on the Supreme Court in 1987, is the most recent Supreme Court nominee who had hearings not to be confirmed by the Senate. Then-Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., painted a dystopian picture of “Robert Bork’s America,” arguing that his appointment to the Supreme Court would “fundamentally change America” for the worst.

“Robert Bork’s America is a land in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police would break down citizens’ doors in midnight raids and schoolchildren could not be taught about evolution, writers and artists would be censored at the whim of government,” Kennedy warned at the time.

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