In opening statements during the first day of confirmation hearings for President Trump’s Supreme Court pick Amy Coney Barrett, Republican senators on the Judiciary Committee criticized their Democratic colleagues for attacking Barrett’s character despite the fact that Democrats have spent very little time so far talking about the nominee herself.
“They are attacking you as a mom and as a woman of faith because they cannot attack your qualifications,” said Republican Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa.
Several other Republican senators, including Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.), Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Nebr.) and Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Miss.), have preemptively bashed the Democrats for going after Barrett’s Catholicism, with Hawley describing a perceived “pattern and practice of bigotry from members of this committee.”
However, Democrats have largely refrained from personal attacks on Barrett, instead focusing on what they describe as an unjustly rushed confirmation process and the policy implications of her appointment.
Sen. Chris Coons (D-CT) specifically said he would focus not on Barrett’s faith, but on her previous writings.
Among Democrats, President Trump’s name came up with nearly as much frequency as Barrett’s as the senators painted Barrett’s nomination as an attempt to bolster the Republican agenda.
“They want a 6-3 Supreme Court to carry out the Republican agenda which really isn’t very popular with the American people,” said Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Il.)
“Before it’s over with they may call you Rosemary’s Baby,” said Sen. John Kennedy (R-M.S.)
While Barrett’s character hasn’t yet been the focus of this Senate confirmation process, top-ranking Democratic member of the committee Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) told Barrett “dogma lives loudly within you” during her confirmation hearing in 2017 to the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. Supporters have used this to suggest the left will unjustly judge Barrett on her faith. Additionally, Republicans have on multiple occasions during Monday’s hearing referenced the 2018 confirmation hearings for Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who at the time faced a harsh character prosecution from Democrats about accusations of sexual assault from Dr. Christine Blasey Ford.