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Highlights of Amy Coney Barrett's questioning at Supreme Court confirmation hearing

Democrats grilled Trump's nominee on health care and abortion, among other issues.

Judge Amy Coney Barrett faced questions from the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, the second day of her confirmation hearings for the U.S. Supreme Court.

Barrett, nominated by President Donald Trump, on Monday delivered her opening statement to the 22-member committee, explaining her judicial philosophy and paying tribute to the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, whom she would replace if confirmed. The senators also read their opening statements, previewing the key points that each side is likely to put forward during their questioning.

Senate Democrats focused their questions heavily on the Affordable Care Act. The Supreme Court is set this fall to take up a pivotal case on Obamacare, which Barrett has criticized in the past.

This coverage has ended. Follow the latest on Day 3 of the hearings here.

Read the latest updates below:

723d ago / 1:39 PM UTC

Barrett says she owns a gun, but can rule on Second Amendment fairly

In response to a question from Graham, Barrett said that her family does own a gun, but that she would be able to set aside her views on gun ownership in ruling on the Second Amendment. 

She made a similar comment about her Catholic faith, saying, "I can, I have done that in my time on the 7th Circuit. If I stay on the 7th Circuit, I'll continue to do that. If I'm confirmed to the Supreme Court, I will do that still." 

723d ago / 1:37 PM UTC

Graham voices interest in campaign finance reform after being outraised in Senate race

Graham told Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., he's getting closer to him on the issue of campaign finance. 

"I don’t know what’s going on out there, but I can tell you there's a lot of money being raised in this campaign," said Graham, whose Democratic opponent Jaime Harrison raised $57 million in one three-month period, more than any Senate candidate ever.

"I'd like to know where the hell some of it's coming from, but that's not your problem," Graham said. 

723d ago / 1:30 PM UTC

Biden says he is not a fan of expanding Supreme Court

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After coming under fire from President Donald Trump and Republicans about whether he backed expanding the Supreme Court to more than nine justices, Joe Biden said Monday that he's "not a fan of court packing."

"I've already spoken on — I'm not a fan of court packing, but I don't want to get off on that whole issue. I want to keep focused," the 2020 Democratic presidential nominee said in an interview with Cincinnati's WKRC.

The former vice president said Trump's decision to quickly fill the Supreme Court vacancy left by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg ahead of the election is the "court packing" that he wants people to pay attention to.

"The focus is why is he doing what he's doing now? Why now with less than 24 days to go until the election?" he said. "That's the court packing ... the public should be focused on."

Biden's comments Monday were his clearest on the issue since Ginsburg's death and come as he and Harris have been hit with a barrage of GOP attacks and have deflected numerous questions from the press in recent weeks about whether they would expand the Supreme Court.

723d ago / 1:29 PM UTC
723d ago / 1:29 PM UTC

Barrett says she would listen to both sides if she hears case challenging Roe v. Wade

Graham brought up Roe v. Wade and explained that unlike Brown v. Board of Education, there are states passing strict abortion laws challenging the 1973 landmark decision. 

Asked if she would listen to both sides if such a case came before the Supreme Court, Barrett said, "Of course. I'll do that in every case." 

723d ago / 1:23 PM UTC

Where does Barrett stand on Brown v. Board of Education?

In response to a question from Graham about Brown v. Board of Education, Barrett said that she considers it a "superprecedent." 

Barrett said that a superprecedent is "a precedent that is so well established that it would be unthinkable that it would ever be overruled."

She said that there would have to be a case and a controversy for the Supreme Court to revisit the landmark 1954 decision. 

"I do not see that happening anytime soon," she said. 

723d ago / 1:19 PM UTC

Graham begins his round of questioning by bashing Obamacare

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., chairman of the Judiciary Committee, began his time for questions by bashing Obamacare, as Democrats have warned that Barrett's confirmation would result in the reversal of the health care law. 

“All of you want to impose Obamacare in South Carolina — we don’t want it,” Graham said. "We want South Carolina-care, not Obamacare."

Graham, who faces a competitive re-election race against Democrat Jaime Harrison, said that if it were up to him, he would "block grant this money, send it back to the states and in a more fair allocation." 

"And we would require pre-existing conditions to be covered as part of the block grant," he said. 

Graham then asked Barrett what she means to be an originalist. She said that she interprets the Constitution as having "the meaning that it had at the time people ratified it," and that "meaning doesn't change over time and it's not up to me to update it or infuse my own policy views into it."

723d ago / 12:01 PM UTC
723d ago / 11:45 AM UTC

Harris, Leahy are only senators expected to participate virtually

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Sens. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., and Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., are the only senators on the Senate Judiciary Committee who are expected to participate remotely in the hearing Tuesday.

Both senators have voiced concern about safety protocols during the pandemic. Negative Covid-19 tests are not required to appear at the hearing in person, despite requests from Democrats, though senators, staff and members of the press are asked to complete self-screening forms.

Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., is expected to appear in person Tuesday after delivering his opening statement virtually Monday because of his recent Covid-19 diagnosis. Tillis released a letter from his personal physician Tuesday stating that his isolation ended at 4 p.m. Monday. 

Image: Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., attends a Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee Hearing on March 26, 2019.
Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., attends a Senate hearing in 2019.Tom Williams / CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images file
723d ago / 10:12 AM UTC
723d ago / 10:11 AM UTC

Here's what happened on Day 1 of Barrett hearings

Just catching up on Barrett's confirmation? Here are some highlights from Monday's hearing:

723d ago / 10:08 AM UTC

With eye on election, Democrats hammer health care on first day of Barrett hearing

Senate Democrats came to the first day of the Supreme Court hearings Monday with a singular message: Health care coverage and protections for millions of Americans are at risk if Barrett is confirmed.

Like a choir singing in unison, Democrats carried the same tune, in different vocal ranges. Each showed photos of constituents who have battled illness and stand to lose potential lifesaving treatment if the Affordable Care Act were axed, demonstrating an unusual level of harmony for a party not known for message discipline.

The relentless attacks were aimed at exploiting the GOP's Achilles' heel in the election — a pandemic-weary public that continues to cite health care as a top issue and trusts Democrats more on the topic. Without the votes to stop Republicans from confirming Barrett, 48, to a lifetime appointment on the court, Democrats are seeking to maximize their revenge at the ballot box.

Read more here.