Blunt and Murphy weigh in on Barrett’s confirmation hearing

Democratic Senator Chris Murphy predicts Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation to the fill the Supreme Court seat left vacant by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg would result a country that looks “very, very different.”

“She’s going to overturn the Affordable Care Act. She’s going to overturn Roe v. Wade. She’s going to make same sex marriage illegal again,” Murphy told CBS News chief Washington correspondent Major Garrett on this week’s episode of “The Takeout” podcast. “I just don’t think that’s where the middle 60% of the country is right now, and so that’s why I don’t think she should be on the Supreme Court.” 

During two days of questioning by the Senate Judiciary Committee, Democrats repeatedly pushed Barrett on how she would rule on any challenges to these legal issues and on how she might handle lawsuits regarding the 2020 presidential election. Barrett stood firm on her answers, refusing to give any indication of where she might stand.

“I have no mission and no agenda,” Barrett stated at the end of the first day of hearings on Tuesday.

Republican Senator Roy Blunt downplayed Democratic concerns, telling “The Takeout” that he thinks Barrett is “going to look at the case, look at the law, look at the Constitution, and make a good decision.” He called her a “great person” and a “fine judge.”

Murphy attacked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for being “willing to change the rules in order to get what they want,” including the rushed confirmation of Barrett to the Supreme Court before the November 3 general election. He said Senate Republicans went “back on their word” on the “election year precedent” that was set when President Obama nominated Judge Merrick Garland to fill Justice Antonin Scalia’s seat on the Supreme Court in 2016, only to see McConnell kill the nomination. 

“Democrats need to wake up and understand that Republicans are going to do anything in order to get their priorities enacted into law. And we’ve got to be a little more cold-blooded ourselves if we get back into power,” Murphy said. 

Blunt defended the actions of Senate Republicans and blamed then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat, who used the “nuclear option” in 2013 to eliminate the 60-vote requirement to confirm executive branch nominations and federal court appointments and replaced it with a simple 51-vote majority. In 2017, Senator McConnell stretched the use of the “nuclear option” to apply to Supreme Court nominees as well.

“I think Republicans have finally decided, well, if that’s the way this is going to be, we’re going to have to step up and do our part as well,” Blunt said. “When you go down this road, it’s awfully hard to turn back.”

Blunt also said that it was “hard to tell” whether President Trump is the underdog or favorite in November the general election. 

“I think he under-polls pretty dramatically,” Blunt said. “It’s hard to tell. I do know that in the world we live in right now, an awful lot can happen in 20 days or so. And that’s how much time we have left.”

According to the CBS Battleground Tracker, President Trump is polling behind Democratic nominee Joe Biden in key swing states like Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. 

For more of Major’s conversation with Murphy and Blunt, download “The Takeout” podcast on Art19, iTunesGooglePlaySpotify and Stitcher. New episodes are available every Friday morning. Also, you can watch “The Takeout” on CBSN Friday at 5pm, 9pm, and 12am ET and Saturday at 1pm, 9pm, and 12am ET. For a full archive of “The Takeout” episodes, visit www.takeoutpodcast.com. And you can listen to “The Takeout” on select CBS News Radio affiliates (check your local listings).  

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