Amy Coney Barrett, Supreme Court of the United States, United States Senate, Ruth Bader Ginsburg Judge Barrett Confirmation Hearing Speech
It is indeed an honor to be here on this historic occasion when we’ve confirmed uh, judge, barrett and uh forwarded favorably to the floor, our recommendation as i’ve since, if as i’ve said ever since she was nominated to this position, judge amy coney barrett is one of The most impressive legal minds in the united states she’s a thoughtful and fair minded lawyer, a loving daughter, wife and mother, and a devout believer in her faith and in the constitution. She was arguably the most impressive judicial nominee that i’ve ever seen in any of these hearings and i’ve been watching them intently. Since i was a kid judge, barrett is going to make an absolutely outstanding supreme court justice and the american people will be really lucky to have her on the bench. It is a shame that our colleagues, on the other side, having failed to lay a glove on judge barrett during the hearings, have chosen to walk out on this process and, in so doing, walk out on the american people. This is sad, but in context it’s, not really that surprising. I suppose we should be grateful that a walkout is all the democrats will do to judge barrett today. Not all nominees have been so lucky. This is an important point for those watching these proceedings, who might be tempted to believe the pious pearl, clutching and performance art of the media and the minority party about this particular nomination i’d like to take a few moments to set the record straight about the history Of this process and why america needs and deserves to have judge barrett on the supreme court for the first 200 years of the history of our republic supreme court, nominations of both political parties were almost always polite and even boring relatively nonpartisan non political affairs.
Judicial nominees were examined for their qualifications and rejected by the senate only in relatively rare instances, but that era of generally common mutual respect ended in 1987, when a democratic, controlled senate, shamefully and slanderously defeated the nomination of the one of the country’s most respected lawyers and Constitutional scholars that is judge robert borg, the cynical attacks against judge borg, whose only offense was that he was a conservative, were dirty and they were downright dishonest. But, like the boy who cried wolf, senate democrats got away with it at least the first time. Four years later, president george herbert walker bush nominated judge, clarence thomas then serving on the u.s court of appeals for the d.c circuit to replace justice, thurgood marshall democrats on the judiciary committee democrats. Not republicans tried to do to judge thomas what they had done to judge bork a few years earlier. The public was now wise to the democrats game and that that particular attack while injurious failed. So they resorted to the next tactic: organizing what thomas rightly called a high tech lynching of a black man who dared disagree with the rich white liberals who ran the democratic party. When democrats won back the white house in 1992, when the shoe was put on the other foot senate republicans did not retaliate senate republicans did not respond the way they did. They did not respond in kind. In 1993, the famously liberal judge, ruth bader ginsburg, was confirmed to the supreme court with 96 votes in 1984 judge stephen breyer was confirmed with 87 votes, they went low and in response we went high.
Now did republicans good faith, behavior influence or improve the democrats. Behavior. No, the record suggests that it only encouraged them within a decade. Democrats once again breached norms. They unilaterally escalated their war over the judiciary by filibustering for the first time in history, a judicial nominee miguel, mr estrada, was, and remains to this day, one of the most respected lawyers and constitutional scholars in the country. He was a natural and inspiring choice to serve as a federal appellate judge, but to the left you see. That was precisely the problem mr estrada was latino and and brilliant and charismatic and young, and widely seen as a future nominee to the u.s supreme court. So the left decided to strangle mr estrada’s nomination with false insincere attacks and unprecedented obstructionism. They filibustered mr estrada’s nomination, not once not twice but seven times fan service to hateful leftist groups, who were vilifying an honorable man in a revolting tantrum of political cynicism and blatant racial condescension. Sure, during this ordeal, mr estrada’s family suffered irreparable tragedy, but at least the new york times was happy and the left sent a clear message to latino americans about what they can expect if they too, dare question liberal orthodoxy. Thus, democrats ushered in yet another new era. In there, not the but in their judicial culture wars, the era of judicial filibusters, now remember at the time of the miguel estrada filibuster republicans had control of the white house and of the senate.
They could have invoked the nuclear option to break the democrats unprecedented norm. Breaking obstruction we didn’t, we did not retaliate, not after the estrada filibuster, not after the democrats. Malignant mendacious smearing of then judge samalito on his way to the supreme court. It’S, not the narrative, but it is the truth. Once again, democrats went low, cruelly disgustingly low and once again republicans took the high road under president obama, republicans accepted the democrats practice and required supermajority cloture votes for judicial nominees after a few years of this democrats got tired of having to play by their own rules. So they broke them in 2013, with a number of obama policies being challenged on constitutional and other grounds in the courts. Democrats invoked the nuclear option over senate rules so that they could confirm judges with only 51 votes. Republicans pleaded with democratic leader harry reid. Not to do it and we warned democrats that they would soon live to regret it, but hubris makes the powerful deaf as well as blind they rammed through their appellate court judges. We could not stop them, they did it because they could. In response, the american people did what they could in the next election and, in fact, in every single congressional election. Since the democrats went nuclear in 2013, american people returned a republican majority to the senate that included the election of 2014, which meant that when president obama appointed judge merrick garland to replace the late justice, antonin scalia the senate, following precedent, established by democrats decades earlier rejected.
That nomination, that included the election of 2016 when donald trump was elected president, when he selected judge neil gorsuch to replace justice, antonin scalia democrats once against filibuster and then feigned outrage, as republicans followed democrats precedent again and triggered the nuclear option on supreme court nominations. Now let me go on record. I initially had concerns about this move in conference meetings. For some time, i argued to my colleagues that we ought to at least try to find another way, try to see if we could figure out a way to restore the judicial filibuster and simultaneously preserve this important part of the senate’s institutional design and a presidential prerogative. I lost that argument. My position may have been principled, but in the context of the democrats, relentless relentless and endless pattern and practice of abusing their power, it was untenable. I tried to persuade my colleagues to seek a good faith bipartisan solution. The problem was that, while solutions were easy to imagine, the left’s good faith was not the only president’s democrats had given us to work with were bork thomas estrada and the nuclear option. My colleagues pointed out the obvious democrats embrace of judicial power and of judicial total war was not a slide down a slippery slope. It was a giddy, enthusiastic leap that they still don’t regret. Just look at the record since then in 2018, when justice, anthony kennedy, retired and president trump nominated judge, brett kavanaugh to replace him was there any sign any evidence whatsoever of any intent to lower the temperature.
Any indication that democrats were rethinking their decades of vicious unilateral escalation, just as before, of course, not during the kavanaugh nomination. They stooped to new lows: concocting a patently false accusation of teenage sexual assault against an honest honorable and innocent man like inquisitors, burning heretics at the stake, torching sliming smearing, breaking norms, breaking rules to slander and strangle the nominations of constitutionalist judges is simply what the left Does this is a feature not a bug? This is how they operate. This is what they do. Liberals, not conservatives turned the supreme court of the united states into a super legislature of sorts democrats, not republicans escalated supreme court confirmations into ideological knife fights and worse and and made political outcomes the defining issue of this process, rather than judicial philosophy and qualifications. What has happened to this problem isn’t a bipartisan failure? It is a unipartisan strategy. Every norm broken every act of escalation. One party the democrats has been the aggressor in every single instance at every step along the way our side has used our constitutional authority and the other side has abused its authority. There is no tit for tat. There is just tat democrats killed, judge, bork’s nomination for partisan political reasons. They killed miguel estrada’s nomination for partisan political reasons they slandered justice, thomas justice, alito and justice kavanaugh for partisan political reasons. They nuked the filibuster again for partisan political reasons and now they’re trying to scuttle this meeting this hearing this vote for partisan political reasons when it comes to the judiciary, abuse of power is their agenda.
Now the left seems to think that the supreme court exists for this purpose and that it exists to impose their very worst ideas onto the public onto those recalcitrant members of the public, those people we call citizens who refuse blindly to go along with their entitled extremism. They want the court to empower abortion activists and woke performance, artists, campus and corporate elites and social media outrage. Addicts to tell everyone how to live without votes, without accountability and without debate, taking debatable matters and placing them beyond debate seems to be their formula. They don’t want democracy, they don’t want representative government, they want docility and judge amy. Coney barrett is not going to give it to them. She’S not going to politicize the supreme court she’s going to help de politicize a court that the left has spent decades. Turning into an extra constitutional sanhedrin of philosopher kings, she’s going to turn back policy decisions and political base back to the people and their elected, accountable representatives where they properly belong, judge barrett understands that under our constitution, policy is supposed to be determined by the priorities of The people not editorial boards or twitter trolls or safety school faculty senates. That is why the left is so furious about this nomination for all the pious pablum you hear on msnbc and for all the pious problem, you’ll hear on msnbc and those other networks tonight understand they aren’t angry, because this process isn’t fair they’re, angry because it is Not because they think amy coney barrett is going to be a partisan justice, but because they know she will not be they’re, not afraid, judge barrett will legislate from the bench, but that she will force democrats and republicans to legislate from legislatures.
As the constitution itself requires. Judge barrett threatens their power, not because she has a hidden agenda or hidden powers, but because they do and she won’t enact those powers or exercise them by judicial fiat, and that is exactly why we need to have amy coney barrett on the supreme court of the United states not to avenge bork thomas estrada, alito or kavanaugh, but rather to restore the institutional integrity of the supreme court and to the senate and all the public institutions that leftist judicial abuse has twisted and desecrated. For two generations we need to confirm amy, coney barrett, not to give political power to conservatives or republicans, but to finally give it back to the american people from whom it was stolen. So many years ago the left has taken the political low road on the judiciary. For decades, amy coney barrett will take the constitutional high road for decades to come every day, earning in more ways than one her new title of justice. Thank you, mr chairman.