Judge Barrett: U.S. deserves SCOTUS ‘that interprets our Constitution and laws as they are written’

Judge Amy Coney Barrett, in her opening statement Monday before the Senate Judiciary Committee, while touching on her family and personal life, also emphasized that she would interpret the Constitution as it is “written.”

“I believe Americans of all backgrounds deserve an independent Supreme Court that interprets our Constitution and laws as they are written,” the circuit judge said. “And I believe I can serve my country by playing that role.”

WATCH: Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s full opening statement.

Senate Democrats have been clamoring to get Judge Barrett to speak about Roe v. Wade, with liberals fearing that if Barrett, who is devoutly Catholic, is appointed to the court, she will help overturn the landmark ruling on abortion. They have been wanting Barrett to speak directly about the issue.

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Barrett, who identifies as an originalist, also touted her time clerking for Justice Antonin Scalia as part of doubling down on her conservative-originalist bonafides, saying that Justice Scalia’s reasoning “shaped me.”

“His judicial philosophy was straightforward: 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.”

Barrett then highlighted her beliefs about the court’s role in the public life of a free society.

“Courts have a vital responsibility to enforce the rule of law, which is critical to a free society. But courts are not designed to solve every problem or right every wrong in our public life,” she said. “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.”

With the first day of confirmation hearings over, three more days of hearings remain. Tuesday and Wednesday will allow senators to question Judge Barrett on a variety of topics and allow her to respond accordingly. Thursday will see outside witnesses testify before the committee for or against the appointment of Barrett. It is expected that on October 22 the committee will vote to move her nomination to the Senate floor to appoint her to the Supreme Court. Assuming all goes according to plan, the full Senate is expected to vote on her confirmation on October 29—less than a week before the presidential election.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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