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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 CoonsChris Andrew CoonsSecurity concerns mount ahead of Biden inauguration Trump impeachment collides with Biden's agenda Sanders to wield gavel as gatekeeper for key Biden proposals 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 TrumpEx-Trump lawyer Cohen to pen forward for impeachment book Murkowski says it would be 'appropriate' to bar Trump from holding office again Man known as 'QAnon Shaman' asks Trump for pardon after storming Capitol 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 HironoDemocratic senator raises concerns about inauguration security Senate Democrats urge Google to improve ad policies to combat election disinformation Senate gears up for battle over Barr's new special counsel 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 SchumerNikki Haley unveils PAC ahead of possible 2024 White House bid Trump calls for 'NO violence' amid concerns of threats around inauguration Amazon cites death threats in push to keep Parler offline 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 GarlandBiden's new challenge: Holding Trump accountable Graham says he'll back Biden's CIA pick A Democratic agenda for impossibly hard times 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 BidenConfirmation hearing for Biden's DNI pick postponed Biden's Sunday inauguration rehearsal postponed due to security concerns: report Murkowski says it would be 'appropriate' to bar Trump from holding office again 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 SasseBen SasseMcConnell about to school Trump on political power for the last time McConnell: Trump impeachment trial to start after Biden sworn in McConnell says he's undecided on whether to vote to convict Trump 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 McDanielThe Memo: Democrats scorn GOP warnings on impeachment Wave of companies cut off donations — much of it to GOP Ronna McDaniel reelected as RNC chair 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 RichmondPelosi to seat Iowa Republican as Democratic challenger contests election results Louisiana Rep.-elect Luke Letlow dies of COVID-19 Biden Interior nominee discusses environmental injustice with tribal leaders 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."