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Kamala Harris, the tenacious former prosecutor, faces a complicated role as she questions Barrett

October 12, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

Many Democrats are eagerly awaiting Kamala Harris' turn as the Senate Judiciary Committee's star prosecutor at the Supreme Court Confirmation hearings for Amy Coney Barrett. But Harris will have to thread the needle of her dual role as Democratic Vice Presidential Nominee and a Judiciary Committee member known for her tough interrogations on Capitol Hill.

(CNN)With Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett's confirmation hearings underway, many Democrats will be eagerly awaiting Kamala Harris' turn as the Senate Judiciary Committee's star prosecutor, hoping she can create one of those pin-drop moments that made her an irresistible pick to be Joe Biden's running mate.

Instead, advisers say, Harris, along with her fellow Democrats on the committee, will keep the focus on health care and what Barrett's confirmation could mean for the future of the Affordable Care Act. Unlike two years ago, the Supreme Court nominee this time is also not a former fraternity brother who faced serious accusations of sexual assault (which he denied).

Twenty-two days before the election, Democratic senators, including Harris, are cognizant that there are political risks to appearing too partisan or aggressive, particularly when questioning a female nominee, who proved to be a calm and collected presence during her 2017 confirmation hearing for her federal appeals court appointment.

With many independent voters watching, Democrats also want to avoid unleashing the kind of conservative fury they stirred up back in 2017 when California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, now the top Democratic member on the Senate Judiciary Committee, questioned whether Barrett's Catholic faith would affect her decisions on the court, uttering a phrase that became a call to arms for religious conservatives when she said "the dogma lives loudly within you. "

"Literally in the midst of a public health pandemic when over 210,000 people have died and 7 million people probably have what will be, in the future, a preexisting condition because you contracted the virus, Donald Trump is in court right now trying to get rid of the Affordable Care Act," Harris said during the debate.

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