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Democrats preview strategy on Barrett's Supreme Court confirmation hearings this week

Democrats preview strategy on Barrett's Supreme Court confirmation hearings this week
© Greg Nash

Democrats on the Senate Judiciary committee spent Sunday previewing their plans for the Supreme Court confirmation hearings of Amy Coney Barrett set to start this week before the panel.

Sen. Chris CoonsChristopher (Chris) Andrew CoonsBipartisan group of senators call on Trump to sanction Russia over Navalny poisoning Schumer says he had 'serious talk' with Feinstein, declines to comment on Judiciary role Durbin says he will run for No. 2 spot if Dems win Senate majority MORE (D-Del.) told “Fox News Sunday” that he plans to frame Barrett’s views as “disqualifying” her from serving on the court. 

“I’m going to be laying out the ways in which Judge Barrett’s views, her views on reaching back and reconsidering and overturning long-settled precedent, are not just extreme; they’re disqualifying,” he said.

“She has views that make her not qualified to serve on the Supreme Court,” he said, adding that “President TrumpDonald John TrumpIvanka Trump, Jared Kusher's lawyer threatens to sue Lincoln Project over Times Square billboards Facebook, Twitter CEOs to testify before Senate Judiciary Committee on Nov. 17 Sanders hits back at Trump's attack on 'socialized medicine' MORE has said he would only nominate someone who would overturn the Affordable Care Act, taking away health care protections for 100 million Americans.”

Another Democratic committee member, Sen. Mazie HironoMazie Keiko HironoDurbin says he will run for No. 2 spot if Dems win Senate majority Democrats seem unlikely to move against Feinstein Senate Democrats call for ramped up Capitol coronavirus testing MORE (D-Hawaii) told CNN’s “State of the Union” that she would avoid asking “irrelevant questions” about Barrett’s Catholicism during the religion. 

“Her religion is immaterial, irrelevant,” she said. “That is what I said. And so that is my position. I am totally focused on what this nominee sitting there as a justice is gonna do in striking down the Affordable Care Act. That’s what I’m focused on.” 

Democratic senators’ comments on Sunday aligned with Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerTrump announces opening of relations between Sudan and Israel Five takeaways on Iran, Russia election interference Pelosi calls Iran 'bad actor' but not equivalent to Russia on election interference MORE’s (D-N.Y.) previous instructions for party members during the hearing.  Amid Republican warnings, Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) has directed Democratic senators to focus on “health care, health care, health care” during Barrett’s hearings and avoid criticizing her character and Catholicism. 

Barrett is expected to align herself with the late Justice Antonin Scalia according to her opening statementobtained by The Hill on Sunday, saying “A judge must apply the law as written, not as the judge wishes it were.”

"Courts are not designed to solve every problem or right every wrong in our public life,” she plans to say. “The policy decisions and value judgments of government must be made by the political branches elected by and accountable to the People. The public should not expect courts to do so, and courts should not try.”

Barrett, in her opening statement, is expected to sidestep what will be some of Democrats' biggest questions, including her views on the Affordable Care Act, recusing herself from election-related cases and if she will feel bound by previous Supreme Court precedent.

Democrats have spoken out against confirming Barrett, accusing Republicans of hypocrisy after the GOP Senate blocked Obama Supreme Court nominee Merrick GarlandMerrick Brian GarlandMcConnell tees up Barrett nomination, setting up rare weekend session Republicans advance Barrett's Supreme Court nomination after Democrats boycott committee vote Democrats to boycott committee vote on Amy Coney Barrett's Supreme Court nomination MORE’s confirmation for being too close to the election during the 2016 presidential election year.

But Republicans have argued this situation is different because the same party has power in the Senate and The White House, and officials have plowed forward in the hopes of confirming the judge before Election Day. President Trump announced he would nominate Barrett 38 days before the Nov. 3 election.

Ahead of Barrett’s hearing, Democratic nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenFacebook, Twitter CEOs to testify before Senate Judiciary Committee on Nov. 17 Sanders hits back at Trump's attack on 'socialized medicine' Senate GOP to drop documentary series days before election hitting China, Democrats over coronavirus MORE has continued to avoid answering whether he would pack the Supreme Court if Barrett is confirmed and he is elected president, sparking condemnation from Republicans.

Sen. Ben SasseBenjamin (Ben) Eric SasseSweden bans use of Huawei, ZTE equipment in new 5G networks McConnell aims for unity amid growing divisions with Trump Cornyn: Relationships with Trump like 'women who get married and think they're going to change their spouse' MORE (R-Neb.) labeled Biden’s refusal to say whether he’d back packing the Supreme Court as “grotesque” on “Fox News Sunday.” Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDanielRonna Romney McDanielTrump's scorched earth style overshadows campaign's message in final weeks Sunday shows - Trump Michigan rally grabs the spotlight RNC chairwoman: Republicans should realize distancing themselves from Trump 'is hurting themselves in the long run' MORE said on CBS’s “Face The Nation” that the lack of answer from the Democratic candidate “should be all the media’s focused on.” 

Rep. Cedric RichmondCedric Levon RichmondThe Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - Trump combative, Biden earnest during distanced TV duel Cedric Richmond's next move: 'Sky's the limit' if Biden wins Democrats preview strategy on Barrett's Supreme Court confirmation hearings this week MORE (D-La.), the co-chair of Biden’s campaign, declined to answer the court packing question, calling it “hypothetical” and “a distraction with 22 days before the election" on ABC's "This Week."