The ultra-conservative judge Amy Coney Barrett, nominated by the president of the United States, Donald Trump, to fill a vacancy in the Supreme Court, avoided this Wednesday to pronounce on the powers of the president, although she assured that “Nobody is above the law.”
Barrett, a 48-year-old Catholic, has appeared before the Judicial Committee of the United States Senate since Monday, where she is being questioned by legislators on his legal views on controversial issues such as abortion and voting rights, as well as the future of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), known as Obamacare, the health care reform promoted by Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama (2009-2017).
In what was perhaps the most controversial moment of the day, the conservative jurist assured that no one is above the law, but avoided clarifying whether the president has the right to self-pardon, as Trump has alleged in the past.
It was Vermont Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy who asked Barret about the president’s powers and whether she thought there is no American above the law.
“I agree, no one is above the law,” Barrett responded, to which Leahy noted below: “Does a president have an absolute right to forgive himself for a crime? That is, we heard this question after the impeachment of the president [Richard] Nixon” (1969-1974).
The magistrate replied: “Senator Leahy, as far as I know, that question has never been litigated, that question has never been asked, that question may or may not arise, but it does appeal to a legal analysis of what the scope of power is. sorry. How would it be to comment on a open question on which I have not been in a judicial process to decide on it, I can’t offer my point of view. “
In 2018 Trump affirmed that he had the “absolute right” to forgive himself, but clarified that he would not do so because he had done “nothing wrong” in relation to the federal investigation underway at that time on the so-called Russian plot, which carried out investigations into the alleged Moscow’s interference in the 2016 elections.
“The Supreme Court cannot control what the president obeys”
In another controversial point of view, Barrett also considered that the Supreme Court you don’t have the resources to ensure that people follow through not even the president: “The Supreme Court cannot control what the president obeys.”
The judge mentioned that President Abraham Lincoln (1861-1865) once disobeyed the order of a lower court during the American Civil War.
“The courts have neither strength nor will, in other words, we can do nothing to enforce our own sentences “, Barrett said.
“In terms of law, the Supreme Court can have the last word,” he stressed. “The Supreme Court lacks control of what happens after that. It depends on the other branches. [del poder] to react to their decisions accordingly. “
Trump has repeatedly hinted that could not accept the election result on November 3, in which he fights with former Democratic Vice President Joe Biden, if he is not a winner and, for months, he has been stirring up suspicions that there will be a hypothetical fraud due to vote by mail, which will be fundamental due to the coronavirus pandemic, so it cannot be ruled out that the scrutiny of the elections I ended up in that court.
On the other hand, last week, an appeals court ruled that the New York South Prosecutor’s Office could demand your tax return from Trump, while the president’s lawyer, Jay Sekulow, announced that he will appeal to the Supreme Court in the hope of avoiding sending those documents.
Gifts to the head of state
Leahy tried to embarrass the judge with another question about the Constitution clause on the emoluments that the president can receive, which serves to limit any outside influence by prohibiting the head of state from receiving gifts from abroad.
In that sense, the senator, who cited information that appeared in the media, questioned Barrett on whether the Trump real estate business, with its hotels and clubs, worth tens of millions of dollars with foreign entities would enter into that clause.
And the judge was once again elusive: “Being something that is being litigated, it is very clear that it is something about which I can’t express my opinion because it could end up before me. “
Beyond the issue of the president’s powers, this Wednesday’s session before the Judiciary Committee passed roughly between attempts by Democrats to smear Barrett for his views on abortion and Obamacare, in front of the Republicans who tried to protect her and praised her.
The chairman of the committee, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, opened the session by proclaiming Barrett’s probable confirmation in the full House, with a conservative majority, as “a historic victory” for an openly anti-abortion woman.
“This is the first time in American history that we have nominated a woman who is unashamedly pro-life and embrace your faith unapologetically, and will go to court [suprema]Graham predicted.
Barrett, however, avoided answering to constant questions from Democrats about what his opinion will be if an abortion-related case is presented, although he has made it clear that he opposes this right.
Republicans want to confirm Barrett at the Senate floor on October 22, so he could wear the Supreme Court robe before the elections November 3.