Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett broke the internet with her response when Republican Senator John Cornyn asked her to hold up any notes she had been using to answer the flood of questions coming at her from both parties during the confirmation hearing.
“Most of us have multiple notebooks and notes and books, things like that in front of us,” said Sen. Cornyn. “Can you hold up what you’ve been referring to in answering our questions?”
Barrett raised a blank notepad – indicating that she was answering all of the Senators questions using only her memory.
“Is there anything on it?” asked Cornyn.
“The letterhead that says United States Senate,” the judge replied.
“That’s impressive,” said the senator.
The internet was seemingly just as impressed with the Trump nominated Supreme Court pick as Senator Cornyn was.
According to Fox News, one user wrote, “It’s common to write down questions since Senators often ask 12 in a row and expect complete answers to all.”
Another reportedly added: “I am shooketh by how brilliant this woman is.”
Barrett is 48 years old and was nominated last month to fill the Supreme Court seat left vacant by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She worked as a law clerk for late Justice Antonin Scalia from 1998 to 1999. She has served as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit since 2017.
Early during Tuesday’s hearing, Barrett was asked about her views on Roe v. Wade, the landmark abortion case that would push the legalization of abortion back to the states if overturned.
Barrett argued that expressing a view on a precedent would signal to litigants “that I might tilt one way or another in a pending case.”
“Do you agree with Justice Scalia’s view that Roe [v. Wade] was wrongly decided?” Democrat Sen. Dianne Feinstein pressed.
“Senator, I do wanna be forthright and answer every question so far as I can. I think on that question, I’m gonna invoke Justice Elena Kagan’s description, which I think is perfectly put. When she was in her confirmation hearing, she said that she was not gonna grade precedent, give a thumbs-up or a thumbs-down. … It would be wrong and a violation of the canons for me to do that as a sitting judge.”
“If I express a view on a precedent one way or another, whether I say I love it or I hate it, it signals to litigants that I might tilt one way or another in a pending case,” reasoned Barrett.
A frustrated Feinstein pushed again, framing the question as of most importance for “half the population,” noting that it was “distressing not to get a straight answer.” However, she received the same answer from Barrett.
Asked a third time, Barrett responded, “My answer is the same … It’s a contentious issue … but I can’t express views on cases, or pre-commit to approaching a case any particular way.”
The judge was also asked during the hearing about how she felt about being referred to as a “female Scalia.”
“I would say that Justice Scalia was a mentor. As I said when I accepted the president’s nomination that his philosophy is mine, too,” she responded.
“He was a very eloquent defender of originalism and it was also true of textualism, which is the way that I approach statutes and their interpretation and similarly to what I just said about originalism.”
“If I’m confirmed, you would not be getting Justice Scalia, you would be getting Justice Barrett,” emphasized the judge.