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Opinion: Amy Coney Barrett hearings shine a light on the differences between the two parties

October 15, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

Three days of hearings didn't change any senators' mind on the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, writes Ilya Shapiro. But there was refreshing clarity on the parties' divergent judicial philosophies.

I won't rehash those arguments here, other than to note that it may have served the Democrats better to parallel the Merrick Garland maneuver of four years ago by abstaining from what they consider to be a pointless exercise — refraining from attacking Barrett's views while making a process argument to the voters.

To take two contrasting examples from Wednesday's session: (1) Republican Senator from Texas Ted Cruz discussed how he favors school choice — calling it "the civil rights issue of the next century" — but that it's not the place of a federal judge to impose it, while (2) Democratic Senator from Hawaii Mazie Hirono called the distinction between law and policy "artificial" in arguing that the Affordable Care Act must be constitutional because so many people depend on it.

Now, emotional arguments are all well and good if you're trying to appeal to an electorate — as California Senator Kamala Harris used most of her time to do with regard to everything from health care to climate change, because she's the Democratic nominee for Vice President.

But regardless, the Barrett hearings showed that the parties do have different approaches to the law — and that Democrats don't see legal questions as divorced from political ones.

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