September 24, 2020 - Issue: Vol. 166, No. 166 — Daily Edition116th Congress (2019 - 2020) - 2nd Session
Supreme Court Nominations (Executive Calendar); Congressional Record Vol. 166, No. 166
(Senate - September 24, 2020)
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[Pages S5847-S5848] From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov] Supreme Court Nominations Madam President, in a letter to our Democratic colleagues earlier this week, my friend, the chairman of the Committee on the Judiciary, pointed out the vastly different treatment of Supreme Court nominees by the respective political parties. He wrote: ``Compare the treatment of Robert Bork, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Brett Kavanaugh to that of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan, and it's clear that there already is one set of rules for a Republican president and another set of rules for a Democrat president.'' This double standard is not just fiction or our imagination at play. Two years ago, we saw the outrageous smear campaign that our Democratic colleagues waged against Justice Brett Kavanaugh and his family. I have noted that it is not just enough to defeat a nomination; they actually were out to destroy his reputation. While I hope it is something no nominee will have to endure again, I worry that history will repeat itself. The President has yet to even announce his nominee for the Supreme Court for the vacancy created by the death of Justice Ginsburg, but our Democratic colleagues are already reflexively taking potshots at potential nominees. One of those potential nominees is Judge Amy Coney Barrett, who is a well-respected Federal judge with an impressive background as a legal scholar. While serving on the Seventh Circuit, Judge Barrett has shown that she will faithfully and impartially apply the law to cases and controversies before her, but in the eyes of our colleagues on the other side of the aisle, her stellar resume has one glaring flaw--her strong Catholic faith. During Judge Barrett's confirmation hearing for her current position on the circuit court, the ranking member of the Committee on the Judiciary asked Judge Barrett if she could separate her religious beliefs from her legal duties, saying: ``The dogma lives loudly within you, and that's a concern.'' During my time in the Senate, I don't recall any similar application of a religious test to a nominee or such intrusive questions about how their faith might impact their abilities to carry out the duty of a Justice. But, apparently, some on the other side of the aisle believe that a Christian woman is unable to separate her religious beliefs from her role on the bench. Yet, again, there is a different standard for nominees of a Republican President. But the Constitution provides that ``no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.'' In other words, it is unconstitutional to impose a religious test on a nominee or on any person who holds public office. Unfortunately, our Democratic colleagues' efforts to destroy conservative nominees are getting more and more outrageous--false accusations, religious tests, and threats to upend institutions, like packing the Court. It is terrifying to imagine what might come next. In 2016, the American people elected President Trump knowing the type of nominees he would send us because he advertised and released a list of potential nominees to the Supreme Court were he elected. At the same time, the American people also reelected a Senate majority committed to supporting the President's nominees to the Federal bench. On both counts, we delivered, first, with the confirmation of Justice Gorsuch and, then, with the confirmation of Justice Kavanaugh. We are once again prepared to deliver on our promise to the American people and to consider another highly qualified jurist to the Supreme Court. We will not rush this process. My colleagues and I on the Judiciary Committee will do our job and thoroughly examine the nominee, just as we would any other nominee to the Court. Then, every single Member of the Senate will have the chance to debate and vote for or against that nominee right here on the Senate floor. This confirmation will be as thorough as it always has been, but my hope is that this time it will also be civil, and that [[Page S5848]] the threats and religious tests end today.