On Monday night, the Republicans on the House Committee on the Judiciary celebrated the confirmation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court by generously sharing their joy with someone they felt was indirectly responsible for Barrett’s success, defeated 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
The Republicans, taking note of exactly what the date was, tweeted, “Amy Coney Barrett, confirmed. Happy Birthday, @HillaryClinton!”
Amy Coney Barrett, confirmed. Happy Birthday, @HillaryClinton!
— House Judiciary GOP (@JudiciaryGOP) October 27, 2020
Clinton responded six minutes later in her characteristically bitter tone, “Senate Republicans just pushed through a Supreme Court justice who will help them take away Americans’ health care in the middle of a pandemic. For them, this is victory. Vote them out.”
Senate Republicans just pushed through a Supreme Court justice who will help them take away Americans' health care in the middle of a pandemic.
For them, this is victory.
Vote them out.
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) October 27, 2020
It certainly is puzzling just why Clinton, who is constantly harping about the importance of female empowerment, would target Barrett, who certainly is not intimidated easily. During the Senate hearings on her confirmation, Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) consistently badgered Barrett about whether she was simply a rubber stamp for the late Justice Antonin Scalia’s positions. Barrett, patient throughout, finally decimated Coons by replying, “I hope that you aren’t suggesting that I don’t have my own mind or that I couldn’t think independently.”
So I understand you’ll be your own justice and Justice Scalia’s philosophy is significant, but you’ve made it clear that it’s actually your philosophy, and I’m trying to help viewers understand what it means to replace a Justice Ginsburg with someone who may more closely follow Scalia’s approach. If Justice Scalia had had his way, we’d be in a very different country with regards to gender discrimination. In one of Justice Ginsburg’s most celebrated decisions in 1996, in the case involving Virginia Military Institute, she struck down their male-only admissions policy. Decades later, VMI honored Justice Ginsberg in recognition of the contributions its female alumni have made. Justice Scalia was the sole dissenter in that case, and even accused the court of destroying VMI, which remains standing and strong to this day. Now I’m just getting at how closely you would ally yourself with Justice Scalia’s jurisprudence. Would you agree with Justice Scalia that Justice Ginsburg’s decision in VMI was wrong?
Well, Senator Coons, to be clear, as I said I think in response to this question yesterday, I do share Justice Scalia’s approach to text, originalism and textualism, but in the litany of cases that you’ve just identified, the particular votes that he cast, are a different question of whether I would agree with the way that he applied those principles in particular cases. And I’ve already said, and I hope that you aren’t suggesting that I don’t have my own mind or that I couldn’t think independently, or that I would just decide, “Let me see what Justice Scalia has said about this in the past,” because I assure you I have my own mind. But everything that he said, is not necessarily what I would agree with or what I would do if I were Justice Barrett. That was Justice Scalia. So I share his philosophy, but I’ve never said that I would always reach the same outcome as he did.