October 26, 2020
Yesterday, Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) spoke on the Senate floor in support of President Trump’s judicial nominee, Judge Amy Coney Barrett, to serve on the United States Supreme Court.
I’m also proud to speak today in support of President Trump’s outstanding nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. To say Judge Barrett is qualified to serve on the Supreme Court is an understatement. Judge Barrett is the definition of a leader, and her record of accomplishment is second to none. Born in New Orleans, she went on to graduate from Rhodes College in Memphis and also Notre Dame Law School – graduating at the top of her class. That is worth pointing out, because, when confirmed, she will be the only Justice on the bench who didn’t go to Harvard or Yale. That’s a good thing. She clerked for one of America’s finest Supreme Court Justices – the late Antonin Scalia. Since 2002, she’s taught law at Notre Dame where she was selected “Distinguished Professor of the Year” three different times. And in 2017, after being attacked by Democrats about her strong faith, she was confirmed to the Seventh Circuit by this body with Democrat votes. Let me say that again – Judge Barrett was confirmed with bipartisan support just three years ago. But today, liberals are recycling their same stale tactics in an attempt to tarnish another exceptional nominee without any basis in fact or truth. They are attacking her Catholic faith and some operatives have even attacked her for adopting children from Haiti – I’m not kidding. It should go without saying that Judge Barrett should be commended for this loving, selfless act – not disparaged for it. I know personally that adoption is one of God’s greatest gifts. I am the proud grandfather of Zegita Marie. While I found her during a mission in Ethiopia, my daughter and son-in-law adopted her as a baby. She is in college now and is one of my greatest blessings.
But like clockwork, Democrats use bogus propaganda to try to scare the American people into opposing a Republican president’s Supreme Court nominee. Over the years, they have made outrageous claims like saying nominees will take away Americans’ health care. They’ve done it time and again – with Anthony Kennedy, David Souter, John Roberts and recently with Brett Kavanaugh. Now, they’re doing it with Judge Barrett. Most Americans can see through this far-left hoax, but it’s important to set the record straight. Judge Barrett is not and has never advocated in favor of taking away anyone’s health care. Period. Liberals have also gone after Judge Barrett for her views on abortion. First off, Judge Barrett has every right to enjoy her religious freedom, and I am saddened to see the attacks she has received due to her Catholic faith. Nevertheless, her record shows that she will thoughtfully apply the Constitution to all cases while honoring Supreme Court precedent. At the same time, she has proven that she impartially and faithfully exercises her duties as an appellate judge. There is no reason to believe she would not continue to do so as a Justice.
Now, I want to speak about the precedent for acting on today’s vacancy and how it differs from the vacancy from 2016. Democrats and the liberal media have called Senate Republicans hypocrites for opposing confirmation of President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee in 2016 but supporting confirmation of President Trump’s nominee today. What they fail to recognize is that we followed Senate precedent in 2016 and we will follow precedent again now. In 2016, we had divided government – which means the Senate and presidency were controlled by different parties. Senate Republicans followed the “Biden Rule” then which is that the Senate does not confirm an election year vacancy in which the White House and Senate are controlled by different parties. Despite Democrats’ insistence on confirming President Obama’s nominee, Senate Republicans followed precedent. The reality is that the Senate has not confirmed a Supreme Court nominee in the modern era under divided government. The last time the Senate confirmed a nominee under these circumstances was 1888. Today, we have united government – both the Senate and presidency are controlled by the same party. Voters elected President Trump in 2016 and Senate Republicans grew their majority in 2018. In nearly every instance in American history where there has been a Supreme Court vacancy under united government, we have voted and confirmed a nominee. In fact, the only time in history that the Senate did not confirm a nominee under united government was in 1968 in which there was bipartisan opposition on ethical grounds and that nominee was withdrawn. It is simply false to say that Senate Republicans are going against precedent. As a matter of political convenience, the Democrats have flip-flopped from what they said in 2016 and are adamantly opposed to a vote during an election year. And it’s not surprising that the media has ignored their about-face.
I’m proud of the efforts by Leader McConnell and our Republican majority who have confirmed dozens of President Trump’s exemplary judicial nominations. Senate Republicans and President Trump have followed through on our promise to remake the judiciary with more judges who interpret the law as written – not legislate from the bench. With Judge Barrett, we have the opportunity to confirm the president’s third Supreme Court nominee to the bench. Everyone knows Judge Barrett is hardworking, principled and committed to serving her fellow Americans. In a 2017 letter, a bipartisan group of law professors called her work, “rigorous, fair-minded, respectful, and constructive.” I couldn’t agree more. I know that she will serve our highest court with honor and distinction, and I look forward to voting to confirm her nomination soon.