- The second day of the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing of Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett has begun, with Senators given the opportunity to question her. Joe Biden campaigns in Florida, a state seen as key to a Trump victory, on Tuesday. After returning to the campaign trail on Monday, Trump heads to Pennsylvania. Early voting began in Kentucky and Texas, with 21 days left until the November 3 election.
Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the United States elections. This is Joseph Stepansky.
Tuesday, October 13: 10:30 ET – Supreme Court declines to hear Democrats’ corruption case against Trump
The Supreme Court on Tuesday put an end to a lawsuit brought by congressional Democrats that accused President Donald Trump of violating anti-corruption provisions in the US Constitution with his business dealings.
The justices refused to hear an appeal by 215 Senate and House of Representatives Democrats of a lower court ruling that found that the lawmakers lacked the necessary legal standing to bring the case that focused on the Republican president’s ownership of the Trump International Hotel in Washington.
10:00 ET – Barrett sidesteps on Roe v. Wade question
Barrett sidesteps when asked if she agrees that Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court abortion ruling, was wrongly decided.
“I’m going to invoke Justice Kagan’s description which I think is perfectly put when she was in her confirmation hearing she said that she was not going to grade precedent or give it a thumbs up or thumbs down,” she said, responding to the question from Senator Dianne Feinstein. “It would be…actually be wrong and a violation of the cannons for me to do that as a sitting judge.”
“Senator I completely understand why you’re asking the question. But again, I can’t pre-commit or say yes I’m going in with some agenda because I’m not,” Barrett said when pushed. “I don’t have any agenda…I have an agenda to stick to the rule of law, decide cases as they come.”
Feinstein told Barrett it was “disturbing” that she would not give an answer.
Senator Dianne Feinstein questions Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett during her confirmation hearing [Drew Angerer/The Associated Press] 09:45 ET – Barrett says she would not be Scalia clone
Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, the committee’s chairman, opened the questioning by asking her about her conservative legal philosophy known as originalism, in which laws and the Constitution are interpreted based on the meaning they had at the time they were enacted.
“That meaning doesn’t change over time and it’s not for me to update it or infuse my own policy views into it,” Barrett said.
Graham asked Barrett, a devout Catholic and a favorite of religious conservatives, whether she could set aside her religious beliefs in making decisions as a justice: “I can,” she responded.
Barrett called the late conservative Justice Antonin Scalia, for whom she served as a clerk two decades ago, as her mentor, but said she would not always rule the same way as him.
“You would not be getting Justice Scalia, you would be getting Justice Barrett. That is so because originalists don’t always agree,” she said.
When asked if Barrett would recuse herself from rulings related to the Affordable Care Act, as Democrats have called for, Barrett declined to say, but said she would follow recusal rules.
Committee Chairman Senator Lindsey Graham speaks during the confirmation hearing for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barret [Stefani Reynolds/The Associated Press] 09:30 ET – Trump economic adviser called first debate performance ‘crappy’: Report
Trump’s economic adviser Stephen Moore has been captured on video calling the president’s first, and only, debate performance against Biden “crappy”, according to the Huffington Post.
“It was not a great performance by Trump. In fact, I thought it was a pretty crappy performance,” Moore told a crowd gathered in Washington earlier this month for the “Election Protection Summit” by the Trump-supporting FreedomWorks nonprofit organisation, according to the news site.
Moore also said that Trump’s first debate against former Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election was similarly “awful”, but that he rebounded in subsequent debates.
“Oh my God, he was so bad in that debate, just awful,” Moore said at the October 2 video, which was obtained by Wisconsin watchdog group Documented, the news site reported.
09:00 ET – Second day of Barrett confirmation hearing has begun
The second day of Barrett’s confirmation hearing has begun, in which she will answer questions from senators on the Judiciary Committee. A day earlier, she told the panel she believes the court should interpret the US constitution and laws “as they are written”.
Barrett said in her opening statement on Monday that people of all backgrounds deserve “an independent Supreme Court”.
The chairman, Senator Lindsey Graham, gavelled open the session on Tuesday.
“Let’s get to it,” he said.
Even before her confirmation hearings end, the Senate Judiciary Committee has already scheduled a Thursday vote to approve her nomination. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham scheduled a committee vote for 9am on Thursday, the last day of hearings. Barrett’s nomination is expected to be brought up for a vote at that meeting and then delayed for a week, as per committee rules.
Read all the updates from Friday, (October 10) here.