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Sunday, April 18, 2021

Supreme Court nomination candidates dealt a new setback

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New nominee Amy Coney Barrett gained the respect of many when she was thrust into the spotlight — and a pivotal role in one of the most consequential Supreme Court cases in recent history — less than two months ago.

Now, however, she is facing a brand new, gaffe-filled spotlight following her controversial interviews that she gave before President Trump nominated her to the nation’s highest court.

Barrett, a professor at Notre Dame, has faced calls for her resignation as a federal appeals court judge following comments that she would have not shared the same legal opinion as Justice Neil Gorsuch during their pre-nomination process.

Earlier this week, Coney Barrett was confirmed by the Senate with a 58-40 vote — a 67-year-old record — and in a brief statement after the historic confirmation, she said, “I cannot possibly express my gratitude to the Senate for this honor.”

There has not been an opening on the Supreme Court since 2003, and that year, Sandra Day O’Connor was appointed a justice with only 63 votes. While President Trump brought another new face to the court, nominees do face some political pressure when their confirmation process is wrapped up.

In the prior month, Barrister Tim Starks defended himself in a CNN interview about his views of Islam. In that episode, he accused Democrats of attacking him for being a constitutionalist.

Last week, Michael D. Cohen and the judge Richard A. Berman — both Democrats in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York — defended themselves in a televised debate that went off the rails.

After having been named in a separate criminal case, Thursday night, Judge William G. Pauley II narrowly won a special election to serve the remainder of Judge Richard M. Berman’s term.

On Wednesday, the president responded to the year-long investigation in an expletive-laden tweet, and appeared to attack special counsel Robert Mueller. It’s likely to be met with an angry rebuke.

This is what happens when you have a “conf” but can’t round up your “stars” like so many other #SCOTUS picks! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 10, 2018

The announcement Monday morning that a nominee had been nominated comes the day after the Senate held its final, highly contentious Supreme Court confirmation hearing with Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination. The president sent along a statement Monday morning, congratulating Judge Barrett and warning the Senate to “respect the results of the American people and not waste time with irrelevant confirmation hearings or phony investigations.”

Before the ceremony in the Rose Garden, President Trump delivered a morning speech to a group of special operations forces at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

“We will defend a strong and beautiful Supreme Court, just like you defend our country,” President Trump said.

No appointments are guaranteed to last for life, but some of the longest-lasting justices have appointed by President Reagan and held their positions for nearly three decades.

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