SEN. GRASSLEY: Justice Barrett understands proper role of judge in constitutional system of separated powers

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The Senate will soon vote on the confirmation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to become an Associate Justice on the United States Supreme Court.



I’ll be voting in favor of her confirmation. I urge my colleagues to do the same.


As was made clear to the millions of Americans who watched her hearings, Judge Barrett has the temperament, modesty and humility we should all expect in a judge.


She approaches cases without bias or a personal agenda.


Most importantly, she understands the proper role of a judge in our constitutional system of separated powers. That is, a judge should interpret – not make – the law.


Judge Barrett has an impressive command of – and respect for – the law and the Constitution. She clearly respects precedent, and she practices judicial restraint. In her words, “a judge who approaches a case as an opportunity for an exercise of will has… betrayed her judicial duty.”


She explained to the Committee her legal method, how she considers statutes and the Constitution, and how she interprets and applies them.


Her judicial method is rigorous and exacting, but fair. She testified that she would listen to both sides in every case.


She said, “we want judges to approach cases thoughtfully and with an open mind.” 


When pressed on how she might rule in a case, Judge Barrett properly applied the Ginsburg Rule – just like every other recent nominee to the Supreme Court.


She demonstrated her independence by not showing hints, previews or forecasts.


I specifically asked Judge Barrett if she’d made any promises or guarantees to anyone about how she might rule on a case. She responded, “The answer is no…. No one ever talked about any case with me…. I can’t make any pre-commitments to this body either. It would be inconsistent with judicial independence.”


She said, “I’m not willing to make a deal, not with the Committee, not with the President, not with anyone. I am independent.”


Contrary to critics’ claims about being biased, Judge Barrett is even-handed, and has ruled for both plaintiffs and defendants in all kinds of cases. She believes in justice for all in accordance with the law and the Constitution.


She told the Committee, “I am fully committed to equal justice under the law for all persons.”


When asked if she will follow the law wherever it leads, she said “Yes.” She said, “I have an agenda to stick to the rule of law and decide cases as they come.”


But that wasn’t good enough for our Democrat colleagues and their leftist allies.


Throughout the hearings, Democrats and many in the media deliberately misrepresented Judge Barrett’s views on the Affordable Care Act.


They claimed her critique of Chief Justice Roberts’ reasoning in the 2012 ACA case dictates how she’d vote in upcoming cases. They even pushed the story line that Judge Barrett signaled to President Trump that she’d support invalidating the ACA if she were confirmed to the Supreme Court. This is nonsense.


Judge Barrett made clear that she doesn’t have an agenda. She testified, “I have no hostility to the ACA.”


Legal scholars critique court decisions all the time, even when they don’t disagree with the outcome. For example, Ruth Bader Ginsburg – before her nomination – criticized the Court’s reasoning in Roe v. Wade. But no one claims she didn’t support the outcome.


Judge Barrett’s critique of Roberts’ reasoning was shared by many legal commentators across the political spectrum, including ones on the other side. Even President Obama rejected the notion that the Affordable Care Act was a tax instead of a penalty.


Moreover, Judge Barrett’s critique of Justice Roberts’ reasoning dealt with his interpretation of a provision that’s no longer in effect. The questions before the Supreme Court this fall are entirely separate. So it’s pointless to speculate.


Senate Democrats want to portray Judge Barrett as a threat to healthcare. They want to distract from the fact that they recently filibustered a COVID relief bill that would’ve protected pre-existing conditions.


This all is just a Democrat election year scare tactic.


But voters aren’t buying it. A recent Politico poll shows a majority of Americans want the Senate to confirm Judge Barrett. And a recent Huffington Post poll says: “Voters favor the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett by a 9-point margin.”


That’s what we’re going to do shortly. Maybe our Democrat colleagues will finally show up to work, do their job, and give Judge Barrett an up or down vote on the merits.


Let’s not forget, the same Senate Democrats just four years ago declared “the Court needs nine to function properly.”


Judge Barrett is a jurist of honor, integrity and principle.


The Judiciary Committee received a number of letters in support of her nomination. They all praised her intellect, judgement, collegiality and kindness.


Judge Barrett won’t be a politician on the bench. She’ll make decisions as they should be decided, in an impartial manner and in accordance with the law and the Constitution.


I’m pleased to vote in favor of Judge Barrett’s confirmation to be an Associate Justice on the Supreme Court. I urge my colleagues to support her as well.

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