4 memorable moments from day 2 of Amy Coney Barrett's confirmation hearings

Barrett reveals blank notepad during exchange with Cornyn, declares ‘I’m independent’

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, began his questioning of Barrett by remarking that “most of us have multiple notebooks and notes and books and things like that in front of us” during confirmation hearings.” He proceeded to ask her to “hold up what you’ve been referring to in answering our questions.”

In response to Cornyn’s inquiry, Barrett held up a blank notepad. “Is there anything on it?” he asked. She responded by acknowledging that the paper had “the letterhead that says United States Senate.”

“That’s impressive,” Cornyn replied.

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Cornyn slammed the idea that Barrett “can’t be unbiased in deciding a case you haven’t even participated in yet” because of her Catholic faith. Cornyn also decried attacks on “judicial independence,” noting that “all of these predictions about how judges under our independent judiciary will make decisions are just pure speculation.” He added that he saw those predictions as “worse than speculation” and in fact “propaganda in order to try to make a political point.”

“There are a lot of people who guessed how judges would actually rule on cases and almost always, they’ve been spectacularly wrong,” he recalled. Cornyn recounted predictions about how Justice Harry Blackmun, appointed by former President Richard Nixon, would rule on certain cases as well as the criticism Justice Neil Gorsuch received for refusing to make “a prior commitment on LGBT issues.”

After explaining that Gorsuch “wrote the Bostock case extending Title VII of the Civil Rights Act to gay or transgender individuals,” Cornyn asked Barrett if she was “willing to make a deal” to vote a certain way on hypothetical cases that might come before her. “No, Senator Cornyn, I’m not willing to make a deal, not with the president, not with anyone. I’m independent,” she proclaimed.

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