DENVER (CBS4) - President Donald Trump's selection of 7th U.S. Circuit Court Judge Amy Coney Barrett for the U.S. Supreme Court is now a new incentive for many Americans to vote. Republicans want to make sure that Barrett gets on the high court. Some Democrats hope that their vote throws up a roadblock for the president's pick.
Sen. Cory Gardner met with Barrett on Tuesday night, in advance of her hearings. He voted to confirm her to the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals three years ago, and he told CBS4 earlier in the day he will likely support her again.
He tweeted after the meeting: "Judge Amy Coney Barrett and I had a productive meeting where we discussed the proper role of the Judiciary, her record as a federal appellate judge, and her extensive academic work." and "I am confident that Judge Barrett is a highly qualified jurist who has thought deeply about the Constitution, the role of precedent in judicial interpretation, and the importance of judges following the law as written rather than legislating from the bench."
The Senate is moving quickly to replace Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died just over a week ago. Gardner said Barrett is well qualified and has a high degree of respect from legal scholars across the country, including those with different ideological viewpoints. But some liberals concerned about the court possibly overturning Roe v. Wade have questioned whether the judge's Catholic faith will influence her decisions.
"When it comes to questioning somebody's faith that not only is unconstitutional and a violation of Article 6 of our Constitution, but it's a shameful display of bigotry. You cannot question a person's faith. (Sen.) Bernie Sanders has done that; he set up a religious test for appointments to the government. It's outrageous. It's wrong, and it divides everything this country stands for. (Sen.) Dianne Feinstein questioned religion three years ago in Judge Barrett's confirmation hearing. We don't question the Roman Catholic faith of Justice (Sonia) Sotomayor. We don't question the faith of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. It is just unconscionable that people would try to do this now against Judge Barrett," he said.
When asked why he is okay filling the Supreme Court vacancy in an election year now, but wasn't in 2016 when President Barack Obama was in office, Gardner responded as follows:
"I came to the conclusion that no Senate since the late 1800s had confirmed a justice when a lame duck session ... had occurred -- when the Senate and the White House were opposing parties -- so this is following precedent."
Two Republican senators have said the Senate should wait to hold a vote on Trump's pick until after the election. Three would have to join all the Democrats to hold up the vote. The Senate Judiciary is expected to begin its hearing on Oct. 12.
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