Vice President Mike Pence refused to bite on a question about Roe v. Wade during the vice presidential debate on Wednesday evening, and offered instead a rebuke of Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) and other Judiciary Committee Democrats for their attacks on faith.
Susan Page, moderator of the debate, asked: “Vice President Pence, you’re the former governor of Indiana. If Roe v. Wade is overturned, What would you want Indiana to do? Would you want your home state to ban all abortions?
Pence, after responding briefly to talk about a previous topic of discussion, remarked: “With regard to the Supreme Court of the United States, let me say President Trump and I could not be more enthusiastic about the opportunity to see Judge Amy Coney Barrett become Justice Amy Coney Barrett.”
“Our hope is, in the hearing next week — unlike Justice Kavanaugh received with treatment from you and others — we hope she gets a fair hearing,” added Pence, looking at Harris when he invoked Democrats’ treatment of Kavanaugh. “And we particularly hope that we don’t see the kind of attacks on her Christian faith that we saw before.”
Holding no punches, Pence reminded the debate audience of Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s (D-CA) comments about Barrett’s faith back in 2017, when the Democratic ranking member said, referring to her faith: “The dogma lives loudly in you.”
Pence then pivoted toward Harris’ treatment of U.S. District Judge Brian Buescher, whom Harris questioned about his beliefs and affiliations with the Knights of Columbus in a questionnaire back in December 2018.
Harris pushed back: “First of all, Joe Biden and I are both people of faith and it’s insulting to suggest that we would knock anyone for their faith. And in fact, Joe, if elected, would be only the second practicing Catholic as president of the United States.”
During the rest of her response, Harris didn’t address her treatment of Buescher, or her treatment of Kavanaugh during the last Supreme Court nomination battle. Rather, Harris talked about why the Supreme Court vacancy shouldn’t be filled at this time.
In a rebuttal, Pence asked Harris point-blank if the Democratic ticket plans to pack the Supreme Court with justices, should they win, in retaliation for Republicans confirming Amy Coney Barrett to the vacancy.
After Pence noted that both Biden and Harris have refused to answer the court-packing question, Harris once again refused to answer it, and instead offered a story about President Abraham Lincoln not filling a Supreme Court seat in the month before an election. (As The Washington Post noted after the debate, the Senate wasn’t in session and there isn’t any evidence Lincoln wanted the winner of the election to fill the seat.)
After Pence pressed Harris over her “non-answer,” Harris decided to make a point about the racial make-up of the Trump administration’s Court of Appeals nominees — while facing directly into the camera — saying to debate-watchers at home: “Do you know that of the 50 people who President Trump appointed to the Court of Appeals for lifetime appointments, not one is black. This is what they’ve been doing. You wanna talk about packing a court? Let’s have that discussion.”
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