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October 14, 2020 26 min

It was a 12-hour session. Twenty-two senators took turns questioning Judge Amy Coney Barrett on her record and beliefs.

Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California, evoked personal experience of life before Roe v. Wade and asked Judge Barrett whether she would vote to overturn abortion rights.

On that question, Judge Barrett demurred — an approach she would take to other contentious issues, including whether she would recuse herself if a presidential election dispute came before the court.

With Judge Barrett’s confirmation all but certain, Democratic senators pressed her more with the election in mind than out of any hope of derailing her rise.

Adam Liptak, who covers the Supreme Court for The New York Times, gives us a rundown of the second day of the hearings.

Guest: Adam Liptak, who covers the Supreme Court for The Times.

For more information on today’s episode, visit 

Background reading: 

  • In declining to detail her legal views, Judge Barrett said she would not be “a pawn” of President Trump.
  • With the hearing taking place closer to an election than any other Supreme Court confirmation — and with the Senate Republican majority at real risk — the proceeding was riddled with electoral politics.
  • Judge Barrett’s testimony was a deft mix of expertise and evasion. She demonstrated easy familiarity with Supreme Court precedents but said almost nothing about whether they should stand.
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