Your Voice, Your Vote: The Breakdown - Day 1 of hearings for Judge Amy Coney Barrett

The top moments from the first day of hearings for Judge Amy Coney Barrett
26:24 | 10/12/20

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Transcript for Your Voice, Your Vote: The Breakdown - Day 1 of hearings for Judge Amy Coney Barrett
Yeah. You stand accused. Of intending to violate your oath before you even take it. Further it's part democratic colleagues want you to guarantee our results. In the case and as a quid pro quo for your confirmation. It's an outrage just tearing itself. Tuesday microcosm. Oh trumps and dangerous ineptitude. In dealing with the coded and pandemic. Trump can't even keep the White House cities and yeah. We've heard a lot of attacks the president probably understand our democratic colleagues are not supporters of the president but we've heard very little about the nominee who is here Clinton's confirmation we're consider them. I think part of the reason for that is is that on any measure and judge spirits credentials and our impact. Why senator crews. This president trot mattered he is putting the Supreme Court in place in. His words to quote look at. The ballots and welcome to the courts have a vital responsibilities. To the rule of slot which is critical to a free society. Our courts are not designed to solve every problem heart right every wrong in our public life. And the policy decisions and value judgments of government. Must be made by the political branches. Elected bag and accountable to you the people. This committee is an in the business of deciding which religious beliefs are good and which political religious believes are bad. And which religious beliefs are weird and we tell them they're going to be a Catholic judge not an American judge that's bigotry. The pattern and practice of bigotry and from members of this committee and must stop. That I would expect. That it be renounced. President Chubb has been very clear about what he's doing him. Easy repeatedly promised to appoint Supreme Court justices who strike down the east CA and and by nominating judge Garrett the president is keeping his promise. Your political opponents have made these types of religious attacks on nearly every. Some Supreme Court candidate nominated by a Republican president and in the modern era. And every time like clockwork. They say they really mean at this time this nominee should this woman in front of us she is the absolute worst. President trump passed explicitly stated. I that he would only put up Supreme Court nominees that would overturn. Roe vs. Wade she said it clearly we should believe him. Senate Republicans what made it crystal yeah best rushing us Supreme Court nomination. Is more important than helping and supporting the American people who are suffering. From a deadly pandemic. Devastating economic crisis. It's coming up founders and candid federal judges to call balls and strikes I don't like our founders intended federal judges from. To be able to redraw the strikes up. Everyone thanks for sharing with us on your voice your vote the break down I'm Diana Sato a New York. And I'm Terry Moran here in Washington DC and those were some of the highlights from the first day of confirmation hearings for judge Amy Connie Barrett. To sit on the Supreme Court succeeding justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg today. We heard from all 22 members of a deeply divided Judiciary Committee reading their opening statements inside that hearing room. With just 22 days to go until Election Day Democrats have said there should be no nomination until after the election. Arguing that a vote this close to Election Day has never been done chairman of the committee senator Lindsey Graham he acknowledged that. But Republicans indicating they'll move forward in their push to filled justice Ginsburg seat before Election Day. In just as Ruth Bader Ginsburg's final days. She said according her granddaughter that her most fervent wish wish was that she would not be replaced until a new president is installed and today Republicans making clear they got the votes here. The votes they need. To do what they want. Let's break that all this down with our virtual roundtable and joining us today senior Washington reporter Devin -- is often covering the courts force ABC news political analyst. Matt Dowd who's seen a few of these and our lawyer Deborah Perle Stine he has some of those expert opinions Devin I'd like to begin with you. We watch this together today virtually together I guess. When you saw that opening statements what percent of theirs were signaling and how Amy Connie Barrett replied. What would ordered takeaways from today. Well Terry for all the partisan warfare going on on the airwaves outside dead here in room I was struck by how civil. Hot and Paul Light this hearing was there were no disruptions from protesters there were no. Outburst in the room and in fact Democrats who had signaled that perhaps they would employ some delay tactics to slow this down today. Never materialized there were actually kind being said by members on both sides the outs a sort of a rarity. Hot in this town in it speaks to the fact that you led with their that there are the votes for this confirmation of any Connie Barrett. Barring some surprise in this is half full steam ahead I was also struck. By the talking points on both sides is we were witnessing a microcosm. Really of the 20/20 campaign we heard last. About Amy coney Baird and her legal philosophies and we did about healthcare in the pandemic from the Democrats. Hot and religion and religious values from Republicans and I think that those true big themes. Will continue to be teased out tomorrow and on Wednesday with questioning. As both sites that try to score some political points with voters. Debra. I think judge Barry did with her on opening statement should put a big emphasis on family she's had she's used to being in a group of nine because that is the size of her family. And then she also tried two draw a lot of attention to her judicial philosophy comparing it to that. Justice Scalia saying a judge must apply the lie that is Britain not as she wishes it war. Meaning that they may have to make decisions that they personally disagree with because that is how the law is written. How do you think that she did with those opening statements and how to they compare with her record and. Be opening statements were fine and surprisingly right these are heavily prepared remarks that that nominees are coached on work on. And it is entirely possible usually to say things that are controversial and she succeeded in doing match. I'm and she certainly qualified. Candidate. To be a judge in to be a justice on the Supreme Court. She would like and I think her advocates the Republicans on the committee would like this to be. I'm hearing that is about her and her qualifications and been challenged their rich. There is an entire nation's worst issues pressing in on this nomination that era about everything other than judge bearish. Terms of how he characterized her record I think it's entirely appropriate and accurate that she described herself as a judge in the mold of Justice Scalia for whom she cleared one saw the banished you always have to follow them even your own methods of interpretation and Justice Scalia or as Smart man as he was and is capable of judges he was. When he didn't think Cuba. Outcome of the case was supported. I was in didn't even hit the original is at war his own architecture analyst claims a two make arguments that he thought were more race. So it's one thing to say that is a general matter I try to approach interpretations this way. Another thing to say that in the face of a judicial record that suggests this is a person whose values are conservative in this is a person who's. Understanding of the constitution and what it's horse is consistent with conservative values than it is with any others. It just is pleased to say I'm an original is but I'm not a not about it and maybe that that that's what you get that they're now the election year consequences. And potential drama Judging Amy coney Baird's confirmation hearing heightened today by the fact that senator McConnell Harris. Is on the Judiciary Committee she of course is the vice presidential candidate on the democratic ticket. Let's listen to a little bit of what senator Harris had to say in today's hearing. Every American must understand. That you this nomination. Equal justice under law is at stake. Our voting rights. Are at stake. Workers ride pass our state consumer rides are at stake the bright says its Asia and legal abortion. Is at stake. And holding corporations accountable. That exchange at the end there's so much more. So mister chairman. I do believe is tearing us a clear attempt to jam through a Supreme Court nominee who would take health care away from millions of people. During a deadly pandemic. That is already killed. When the 2141000. Americans. Senator McConnell I Harris there with a reputed Ginsburg kids' book read by her. When you look at senator Harrison and what the Democrats pursue the democratic ticket won 22 days before this. Before Election Day oh what do you won't war what's your strategy here. Well I was struck actually by which I'm not often struck by as the discipline of the Democrats in this. Com I think that Devens analysis on this is just right the Democrats and probably pretty much decided. And as a Lindsey Graham said at the start beginning call this a consideration of the nominee call that a confirmation of the nominee. And sell the Republicans had to stay up enough votes they can get this through ads in some. Bombshell dropping in the middle of this but Democrats have decide what this is about is the election where ten million people as of today. Have already voted. And as of today. And it's going to be ultimately decided in the next 2122 days in essence a Democrat state gets supplies they talked about the pandemic the biggest issue facing the electric. They talked about health care and what her decisions and make might be an act. And they talked about hypocrisy. And so the Democrats I thought were made a concerted effort to say yes for having a nomination process. And a consideration confirmation process but what we're gonna talk about is the election that's going on and what matters in that election fundamentally. And what the Republicans did was they were focusing on the hearing understanding that they have the votes and they're gonna get it done one was talking to a national audience. And the election they want to have. The other was basically saying we're gonna get this through Morgan a push this through. It's a very bifurcated thing I think in the moment today so far in a speeches and we'll see in the questions. Which is usually where the fireworks happened or where we do you see anything out of this. And so are being Democrats have made this is a much bigger play about the election. And the Republicans. And DeVon while it sounded the Democrats are making a big play for the election. It sounded Republicans were also making a play. For preserving the system they seem to give this idea not the idea but point out that Joseph Biden has not addressed whether Democrats will pack the court. After the election they talked about Democrats bringing that issue up. And they talk about this being a system that is designed to play out the way that it is injustices are not supposed to be evaluated on their politics but more. For the air aptitude aptitude when it comes to. The actual loss so what is the strategy there where Republicans are trying to put out this idea that the entire system may be in jeopardy. I mean we heard Ruth Bader Ginsburg's. Words quoted back several times by Republicans. When. A few years ago of course during President Obama she said presidents or presidents for four years it's a constitutional. How right and obligation to nominate someone to the Supreme Court. I think if she were here today she'd probably say president trump certainly had every right to name. Amy Connie Barrett two lead to an open seat the question is in presidente of course and the grand traditions of the Senate's. Hot and in any day you know and and how the parties have treated each other that's where now things have gotten into a bit of finger pointing. They hit the history of Merrick Garland of course. How weighing heavily here but how Republicans are insisting that they are simply doing what the air constitutionally obligated to do no matter the time even as the closest confirmation. Before an election. And they're trying to score some points as well I mean Joseph Biden has long opposed pack. Can the court adding seats to the court if you will because he doesn't think that the court should be politicized but he has an answer that question lately. Certainly not since the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and so they they're they're trying to gain an edge there the Biden campaign. It says this is all distractions focus on what the president is doing but that we will definitely part of this debate over the course of the week Dan. Pitt and Matt and endeavor for good put this puts you the question of the court becoming a political football. Right now and what that might do to the court and and I'm register. Is it in part because through the so called liberal courts and now the so called conservative courts. They've just taken more and more power it's of course are gonna become a political football but that in general share risk for the court in the fight that we're having over. Yet there's a huge risk Amy I think what we've seen over the course of the last ten or fifteen years is every institution. That we thought was nonpartisan. Are stands aside has come under attack and been politicized and it's this didn't start today and it didn't start with. Ruth Bader Ginsburg Stafford didn't start with Merrick cardinal calling these things are adding to it. Mean bush V gore was there was a huge politicos politicization of the court when bush V gore was decided basically installed. A president into office not a very partisan five to four vote and so it is very concerned we seen an attack our intelligence communities which were seen. As objective and nonpartisan we've seen attacks on the FBI. We we've obviously had a legislative Branson presidency and now we have a judicial system. And so yes it seems to be another avenue or another part of America that's incredibly politicized and who would you could point to one side or the other. I'm who started here why beginner all of that and I understand actually have to say why Joseph Biden doesn't want to answer this question. Because there in the system of you guys have Marty didn't packing the court to politics I'm not gonna get in this debate right now. Com and in the midst of this but the justice Supreme Court of the United States. Has be calm in this moment stay another political branch of our country. Deborah. So I think things first it's absolutely the case and that the best Supreme Court and the political stakes in the political power that the Supreme Court holds. Has made an issue for decades longer than that but is certainly big and the Supreme Court nomination process certainly been intensively. I'm politicized since at minimum the 1980s so that's not new. What I see it might be new in recent years beginning we can Garland. An and all of the event since then. Is that people are beginning to pay attention. I'm en route to Supreme Court has long been a voting issue. For conservative leaning voters it's been much less of an issue. Upper left leaning voters and a relative difference and and having this discussion now at the height of the an election. Only the sort of exacerbates that problem. Supreme Court in the public trust has been declining slightly compared to where it has been over recent decades. But that concern is that. As people pay attention to whet the court is doing each and as people as the court's moves farther afield from where a majority of Americans. Use our village I received the court will begin to become more at issue going forward. The big day guys stick around we're gonna get back to you in just a moment. Up next we talk a lot about what happened today in the senate but where things go from here what you need to know. About what's next and what if anything could dean rail this nomination. We'll be back in a moment. Yeah. Here because in the middle of a deadly pandemic. In the middle of an ongoing election. Senate Republicans have found a nominee and George Barrett who bit you know to what they couldn't do subvert the will of the American people. And overturn the AZ eight overturn Roe vs. Wade. That's what this is about that's why we're here it's very simple and you don't have to do this and it's one of my colleagues to stand up on this committee who. We can hold this over to after an election to move my colleagues from on the senate floor and agree with their other two colleagues Republicans we can stop this. Otherwise this is a charade when they say this is a normal and I Judiciary. Committee hearing. For Supreme Court nomination there is nothing about this it's normal. Democrats on and off the committee want a real. The let me be clear judge did you know there's no religious test to serve on the Supreme Court can apply. Because the constitution says so. And I can only hope that the civility that you've shown through your professional and work will be afforded to you through these proceedings. Causes a more highlights from today's hearing on Capitol Hill let's bring back our virtual roundtable dev environment cloud. Matt Dowd and Deborah pearl seen mad Democrats have made clear that they don't think his seat should be filled till after the election but that they also can't stop this from happening. But there was a moment today were senator Klobuchar called on viewers to call their Republican senators. And asked them not to go through with this any chance that strategy works. No Tom I think Dayton where we absent some bombshell are absent. Judge bear it not doing well in the state in the mid midst of this this thing is going forward I think the only thing. That could delay but if that be being held a vote right before Election Day. Would be it somehow. This pandemic. Which we have seen things with what they huge outbreak a hot spot that happened at the White House other US senators having effective today. Showing up which I noted some of the ones that had showed up and we're even wearing a mask which stormy I would of had a hard time appearing at that hearing that was the case. With me with the senator that had been tested positive in this. I think this is moving forward. It's going forward is going to be voted there's not enough Republicans who will abandon at this point I don't think all of the calls unfortunately. For people that believe in grassroots democracy Kenney of the calls or letters or of that will change anyone's mind. At this point people are locked in. But for something breaking. In the midst of the question and answer period in the course of the next week. Pull Republicans. We're certainly ready. For the democrats' argument saved you constructed an edifice of counter argument reading history and a completely different way than they did in 2016 in many ways but. I senator Lindsey Graham who's the Republican chairman. The Senate Judiciary Committee he offered part of that counter argument with the Democrats are saying about the timing of this year. We're confirming the judge an election year after the voting has occurred. Pull happened. Because of my democratic colleagues will say. This is never been done in their right in this regard nobody's I thinks ever been confirmed election year past July. The bottom line is justice Ginsburg when asked about this several years ago. Said that are present serves four years not three. There's nothing unconstitutional. About this process this is a vacancy this occurred to her tragic loss of a great woman. And we're going to fill that vacancy with another great moment. Nothing unconstitutional. About this process that's certainly true Deborah but I wonder if if there's a difference between what you can do and what you should do in this regard. Recently hit this town and I think a couple of things to say first just on the point and is there anything yet action derailed as I I think it. Point it really Kobe it is the primary source of potential derailment now is ripe age of big difference between what's constitutional and what should happen. Those are absolutely differences. And senator Graham is right that there is nothing. I unconstitutional. About proceeding with the nomination under these circumstances. President and and it does pose a risk not just to the legitimacy of the Supreme Court is an institution. That we were talking about but do the best. Earlier but she does strengthen the Supreme Court going forward and the republicans' ability to hit the court in a position to act as they want to do. And and DeVon along side the question of whether these hearings should be happening at all at this point didn't really tried to put a focus on health care essentially. Making an implication that confirmation fur judge Amy Connie Barrett means that the end of the Affordable Care Act let's listen to some sound there than I wanna get your reaction. This Supreme Court nominee has signaled in the judicial equivalent of all caps. Did she believes the Affordable Care Act must go hand. That the president precedent. Protecting the ACA doesn't matter. The big secretive influences behind this unseemly rush. See this nominating. As a judicial torpedo. They're firing at the AC. The truth matters. And the truth is America that this judicial nominee has made her views so clear. And this president is trying to put her in a position up power to make decisions about your lives. The Affordable Care Act protects you from getting kicked off figure insurance that's on the line the president has been trying to get rid of obamacare since he got in power. If they succeed. It will result in millions of people losing access to health care at worst. Possible time. In the middle of a pandemic. What they three million Americans lose their health insurance altogether. If they succeed it will eliminate protections for a 135. Million Americans. With preexisting conditions like diabetes and adds. We're sept adamantly and Americans who have contracted cook in nineteen. DeVon given where in the middle of a pandemic health care is even more of a big issue of vanity usually is around this time. I'm curious how much of this rhetoric that we heard today is about politics and how much is actually at stake when it comes to health care policy. There is a major case that would be one of the first that a justice spirit would hear it's gonna be heard November 10 that deals with obamacare is the third time the entire law has come before the Supreme Court. And the whole thing is on the line two lower federal court struck down the individual mandate. But in the law one said the entire thing has to go. Com and that will be decided by next June and so this it would decision is coming it will be heard in judge Baird of she's on there would participate in that so what do we know much experience in view of the Affordable Care Act we'll she has never ruled on it she has never. Are written opinion on obamacare but in a while review article a few years ago she took issue with John Roberts to drive 2012 case upholding the law. In his rationale for that says she's made very clear that she doesn't agree with the ground that its standing on the big question Diana's whether or not. She feels that they give the controversial mandate that everybody thinks is probably gonna go away can be severed. From the law can we just get rid of that and keep the rest keep the protections for people with preexisting conditions keep the subsidies. It's in effect what's happening right now the mandate has been zeroed out in the law is still standing. She hasn't weighed in on that issue of sever ability so there is some question there. Most people think she'll probably be a vote to get rid of the whole law but we should say. Hi to everybody that no matter if she knew how she votes there's still a chance I that there could be five votes to pull the Walt Regis we don't know. And from the political to the personal Matt I just want to ask you quickly. The Republicans defended. Amy Connie Barrett on the basis of religion they said the Democrats have been attacking I didn't hear much of that from Democrats but it's out there are no question. How do you think that she is being. Unfairly attacked because she's in devout Catholic who participates in intensive faith community but what do you make of that hole into this business. I mean I think it's a complete Foley issue that the Republicans are pushing at this point I will listen to almost all the hearings today. The only people talking about her faith for the Republicans that a single Democrat went into it got a part of it the last two weeks. Has been a whole push on the Republicans to say the Democrats are are attacking her faith. Which I find fascinating since Joseph Biden is say is a devout Catholic Nancy Pelosi is a devout Catholic. Thirty got third of the republic I'm democratic members of congress are Catholic so I think it's a faux issue what I would like to ask the people listening and watching the this. I would wonder where the Republicans would be. If this nominee was a devout Muslim. Would they be saying these same things are saying now about Donna text somebody's faith and don't going to their faith and don't make an argument or that they. If the person sitting in front of them was a devout Muslim I really doubt they would be saying the same arguments. All right we will see how much religion comes up when the questioning portion of the hearings begin Devin Dwyer Matt Dowd Deborah pearl seemed thank you so much for being here. Thank and that does it for us here on the breakdown today I'm Diana say don't need. And I'm Terry Moran given right here on ABC news live for full coverage of the Supreme Court hearings starting tomorrow at 9 AM eastern. See you then have a great day and yeah.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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