Democrats raise issues of women’s rights to Amy Coney Barrett

In the second day of Senate confirmation hearings, Supreme Court nominee Barrett was pressed by Democrats on many issues, including abortion.
6:22 | 10/13/20

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Transcript for Democrats raise issues of women’s rights to Amy Coney Barrett
tonight. A major vaccine on hold and now a trial for a key antibody treatment on hold, as well. But first tonight, president trum's pick to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg, just Amy coney Barrett, pressed on several key issues today, just 21 days before election day. The judge was asked about the future of the affordable care act, about roe versus wade, is it settled law? About same sex marriage and she was pressed today if this presidential election ends up being a contested election, will she recuse herself? Judge Amy coney Barrett grilled by members of the senate judiciary committee for hours. Judge Barrett answering without referring to any notes, at one point, holding up her note pad there to show it was blank. She has said that justice Antonin Scalia, she shares his judicial philosophy, today saying she will be her own person on that court. Repeatedly pushed on the affordable care act, with a case before the court just days after the election. Judge Barrett insisting it is not her, quote, mission to destroy the act. And forcefully pushing back when asked if she would recuse herself if the results of the election are to come before the court, saying she hopes the committee would, quote, have more confidence in my integrity. And the very personal moment today when she described talking to her own children about the video of George Floyd. ABC's Terry Moran has covered the supreme court for years for us and he leads us off tonight. Reporter: Amy coney Barrett was grilled by senators today, stepping out of the long shadow of her mentor, the late justice Antonin Scalia. People say you are a female Scalia. What would you say? I would say that justice Scalia was obviously a mentor. And as I said when I accepted the president's nomination, that his philosophy is mine, too. If I'm confirmed, you would not be getting justice Scalia, you'd be getting justice Barrett. Reporter: But what would that mean? Democrats zeroed in on the possibility of a contested presidential election ending up in the supreme court, and whether Barrett, if she's confirmed, should even participate in such a case, after president trump has declared he's counting on her and the court to look at the ballots. Will you commit to recusing yourself from any case arising from a dispute in the presidential election results three weeks from now? I would consider it -- let's see, I certainly hope that all members of the committee have more confidence in my integrity to think that I would allow myself to be used as a pawn to decide this election for the American people. Reporter: But in a striking exchange, Barrett, who calls herself an originalist, following the original meaning of the constitution, declined to say whether trump or any president could delay an election. Does the constitution give the president of the united States the authority to unilaterally delay a general election under any circumstances? Does federal law? If I give off the cuff answers, then I would be basically a legal pundit and I don't think we want judges to be legal pundits. Reporter: The constitution is congress sets the date of the election. On the court ruling guaranteeing same sex couples the right to Mary, she said this. I'm not going to give a thumb's up or thumb's down to any particular precedent. It is precedent of the supreme court that gives same sex couples the right to marry. Reporter: On a woman's right to choose to have an abortion under roe versus wade, Barrett in the past has listed a number of cases she believes are super precedents, onces that can be overruled, and roe wasn't one of them. Is roe a super precedent? Roe is not a super precedent because calls for its overruling have never ceased, but that doesn't mean that roe should be overruled. It just means that it doesn't fall on the small handful of cases like markry versus Madison and brown versus the board that no one questions anymore. Reporter: And on the affordable care act, which comes before the court and Barrett has sharply criticized -- I'm not here on a mission to destroy the affordable care act. I apply the law, follow the law, you make the policy. Reporter: Republicans pushed back hard on the questioning. Have you made any promises or guarantees to anyone about how you might rule on case or issue that might come before you if you are confirmed to the supreme court? I want to be very, very clear about this, senator grassley. The answer is no. The Democrats claim you are being put on the supreme court so you can vote to repeal the affordable care act. Is that your agenda? Absolutely not. I was never asked. Ajdz and if I had been, that would have been a short conversation. Reporter: Perhaps the most emotional moment of the day came when senator dick Durbin of Illinois asked Barrett, the mother of two black children, about the racial anguish that's erupted in the country this year. Have you seen the George Floyd video? I have. What impact did it have on you? Senator, as you might imagine, given that I have two black children, that was very, very personal for my family. I was there and my 17-year-old daughter Vivian, who is adopted from Haiti, all of this was erupting, it was very difficult for her. We wept together in my room and and my children, to this point in their lives, have had the benefit of growing up in a cocoon, where they have not experienced hatred or violence. For Vivian to understand there would be a risk to her brother or the son she might have one day of that kind it is a difficult one for us like it is for Americans all over the country. Very personal moment there today. Terry Moran back with us from the hill again tonight. And Terry, we all watched as judge Barrett was pressed today on the affordable care act, on roe versus wade, on same sex marriage. And like many supreme court nominees before her, she was very careful to say as little as possible on how she would rule. So, bottom line, for folks watching at home tonight, did anything happen today to take this nomination offcourse? Reporter: No, David. Not a thing. But that was to be expected, in part because Democrats not having the votes decided to use their time in this hearing to try to raise key issues in the election that could help Joe Biden, like health care, which we heard a lot about. But we know president trump is happy. He just told reporters, Amy's doing really well, it's been a great day. David? Terry will be back on the hill for us tomorrow. Thank you, Terry.

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

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