In a rushed proceeding, racing against the clock of the election, on Sunday Supreme Court justice nominee Amy Coney Barrett issued the transcript for her opening statement in the hearings that will comprise her confirmation. In them, she thanked the Trump for his nomination, introduced her full family of nine as well as her parents, and talked about the influence that Justice Antonin Scalia had on her — she clerked for him as a law student. She spoke of the role of the courts which she said "have a vital responsibility to enforce the rule of law."
"But courts are not designed to solve every problem or right every wrong in our public life," she continued. "The policy decisions and value judgments of government must be made by the political branches elected by and accountable to the People. The public should not expect courts to do so, and courts should not try." Throughout the statement, she also intimated how her decisions might be formed if she ends up sitting on the bench. Here, she also pointed to Scalia, saying his reasoning shaped her.
"A judge must apply the law as written, not as the judge wishes it were," she said. "Sometimes that approach meant reaching results that he did not like. But as he put it in one of his best-known opinions, that is what it means to say we have a government of laws, not of men."
As the transcript of the opening statement was released, Pete Buttigieg was in the middle of an appearance on MSNBC's AM Joy speaking about National Coming Out Day. Weekend host Jonathan Capehart read Buttigieg a section of the statement.
"This is what nominees do," Buttigieg said, responding in real-time. "They write the most seemingly unobjectionable, dry stuff. But really what I see in there is a pathway to judicial activism cloaked in judicial humility." The mayor smiled before continuing.
"At the end of the day, rights in this country have been expanded because courts have understood what the true meaning of the letter of the law and the spirit of the constitution is," he said. "That is not about time-traveling yourself back to the 18th century and subjecting yourself to the same prejudices and limitations as the people who write these words. The constitution is a living document because the English language is a living language. And you need to have some readiness to understand that in order to serve on the court in a way that will actually make life better.
"It was actually Thomas Jefferson himself who said that 'We might as well ask a man to still wear the coat which fitted him when he was a boy as expect future generations to live under' — what he called — 'the regime of their barbarous ancestors.'" Buttigieg quotes. "So even the founders that these kind of deadhand originalists claim fidelity to understood better than their ideological descendants — today's judicial so-called conservatives — the importance of keeping with the times. And we deserve judges and justices who understand that."
The interview comes in a wave of statements that have gone viral. He's completely destroyed both Trump and Pence in Fox News interviews, has astutely responded to the issue of late-term abortions, and now this. He is slowly building himself as an invaluable tool component of the Biden team. Barrett's Senate hearings begin today. The Senate is expected to confirm her nomination regardless of her worrying record.