UA law professor breaks down Barrett confirmation hearings as senators prepare to vote

UA law professor breaks down Barrett's confirmation hearings as senators prepare to vote

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - The full Senate is slated to take up the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court on Friday, Oct. 23.

The final vote is expected the following week, days before the election.

Shalev Roisman is an associate professor at the University of Arizona. He teaches constitutional law, administrative law, and presidential power.

“What we are seeing is increased politicization of the court because this is coming up in an election year, because this is becoming a big political issue in the presidential race, and I think that is going to have long lasting effects, or it could have long lasting effects on the court,” Roisman said.

Roisman said Barrett’s confirmation hearings played out just as he anticipated.

“I think it is becoming increasingly common for the nominees to avoid saying anything substantive in the hearings,” Roisman said.

Democrats pressed Barrett on the Affordable Care Act, abortion rights, and a potential dispute in the election.

Barrett declined to answer many questions, citing the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s approach to her 1993 hearings.

“Justice Ginsburg, with her characteristic pithiness, used this to describe how a nominee should comport herself at a hearing: no hints, no previews, no forecasts,” Barrett said.

Some senators argued Ginsburg was still more forthcoming in her hearings. Roisman said while that may be true, he understands the approach Barrett took.

“She will be confirmed unless something major happens, and so it is understandable or at least you can understand the human feeling of, ‘I don’t want to mess this up, and I will be confirmed unless I say something controversial, so I will do my best to not say anything controversial,’” Roisman said.

Roisman said as he teaches the next generation of lawyers, the perception of the Supreme Court is front of mind.

“It has been an institution that has had a lot of legitimacy within popular culture, and that is not as true of some other institutions. They are seen as decisions as less partisan, as more legitimate, as more neutral,” Roisman said.

“What we want out of it is to be able to resolve disputes, political disputes, even extremely contentious disputes and have the losing party think, ‘Well, you know what, I lost, but I had a legitimate shot,'" Roisman said. “I think the more political it feels, the less legitimate it will feel and the less it will be able to play that important role in society, and I think that is concerning going forward.”

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