Home featured Here’s what to watch for as questioning of Barrett enters Day 2.

Here’s what to watch for as questioning of Barrett enters Day 2.

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During the first round of questioning in her Supreme Court confirmation hearing, Judge Amy Coney Barrett faced a wide variety of meaningful inquiries about her background in a predominantly civil marathon on Tuesday.

But with many of the more technical questions asked, senators will now begin shorter, 20-minute rounds in which they may look to more forcefully make their case for or against Judge Barrett’s confirmation.

Here are some of the ways the conversation could shift on Wednesday:

Tuesday’s question-and-answer segment featured committee members pressing Judge Barrett for details about her judicial opinions and personal views, covering topics as varied as gun ownership, voting rights and same-sex marriage.

With many of the anticipated questions surrounding her relatively short record as a judge now asked and answered, more senators may pivot away from directing questions to the nominee on Wednesday.

Many Democrats have already voiced their opposition to holding the hearing at all, arguing that the proximity to the election makes it inappropriate, and that the Senate has more pressing priorities given the chaos caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Heading into later rounds of questioning this week, both parties may use their time to discuss topics like health care and coronavirus relief that they see as central to their messaging ahead of the election. If they do, Judge Barrett may be afforded much less time to speak.

One of the recurring questions Judge Barrett fielded on Tuesday concerned her judicial independence and whether she would recuse herself in any election law cases related to the man who nominated her: President Trump.

Throughout the day, Judge Barrett emphasized that she had made no promises to Mr. Trump or anyone else about how she might rule in the future, even though the president has repeatedly spoken about his intent to add sympathetic voices to the court.

While several Democrats pushed Judge Barrett to commit to recusing herself in cases that concern the president, she repeatedly demurred, insisting only that she would consider any relevant factors that might cast doubt on her impartiality when making that decision.

Like many past nominees, Judge Barrett declined to speculate on how she might rule in hypothetical cases that may arise after her confirmation, including in this case the election, the Affordable Care Act and abortion rights.

Given that any further questions about Judge Barrett’s participation in a hypothetical election case are likely to go unanswered, Democrats may be forced to take a different tack.

On Tuesday, Senator Cory Booker, Democrat of New Jersey, framed a few questions in more concrete terms, such as asking Judge Barrett whether she believed the president should commit to a peaceful transition of power, something he has repeatedly declined to do. While Judge Barrett may argue that she is not in a position to weigh in on the president’s behavior or public statements, Democrats may look to push her to discuss actions Mr. Trump has taken that they see as falling outside of the law, or threatening constitutional norms.

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