Parler Share

Amy Coney Barrett Corrects Amy Klobuchar: 'I Don't Attack People, Just Ideas'

Parler Share

Judge Amy Coney Barrett of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit set the record straight Tuesday with regard to questions of character and judicial partiality, telling Minnesota Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar that she does not “attack people, just ideas.”

The remark came during the second day of Barrett’s Supreme Court confirmation hearing held before the Senate Judiciary Committee, when Klobuchar accused the judge of having previously criticized Chief Justice John Roberts for his majority decision in the 2012 case that saw the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate upheld as constitutional.

“Did you say that? That [Roberts] pushed the Affordable Care Act beyond its plausible meaning to save the statute?” Klobuchar asked.

“One thing I want to clarify is you said that I criticized Chief Justice Roberts,” Barrett responded. “And I don’t attack people, just ideas.”

“OK,” Klobuchar replied.

New IRS Requirement Now Applies: 'All Taxpayers Must Answer the Question'

“That was just designed to make a comment about his reasoning in that case — which, as I’ve said before, is consistent with the way the majority opinion characterized it as the less plausible reading of the statute,” Barrett added.

It was not the first time a high-profile Democrat had raised concerns regarding the continued safety of the Affordable Care Act under a more conservative Supreme Court.

Do you think Barrett will be elevated to the U.S. Supreme Court?

Democratic Sens. Cory Booker of New Jersey and Kamala Harris of California, as well as 2020 Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, have all suggested that Barrett’s personal stance on the case of National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius is proof she would vote in favor of overturning the ruling and dissolving the ACA, if elevated to the Supreme Court.

These allegations stem largely from the existence of publicly available 2017 legal review published by Notre Dame Law School, in which Barrett argued the grounds upon which the Roberts court had ruled the ACA’s individual mandate constitutional were contrived.

“Roberts pushed the Affordable Care Act beyond its plausible meaning to save the statute,” Barrett wrote. “He construed the penalty imposed on those without health insurance as a tax, which permitted him to sustain the statute as a valid exercise of the taxing power; had he treated the payment as the statute did — as a penalty — he would have had to invalidate the statute as lying beyond Congress’s commerce power.”

Barrett is in no way guaranteed to rule in favor of overturning Sebelius, however, with her originalist judicial philosophy and firm support for stare decisis suggesting she is likely to uphold personally unfavorable precedents unless absolutely necessary.

The judge’s Tuesday response to Klobuchar seems to have been something of a nod to her personal mentor, the late Justice Antonin Scalia.

Conservative-Dominated SCOTUS Begins New Term, Set to Hear Cases with Potential to Bring 'Significant' Changes to the Law

Another stalwart originalist, Scalia was known to have fostered a deep and long-lasting friendship with the recently deceased Democrat-appointed justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Asked by CBS News in 2008 to explain such relationships given his penchant for frequent — and often aggressive — legal dissents, Scalia said, “I attack ideas, I don’t attack people.”

“Some very good people have some very bad ideas,” he added.

“If you can’t separate the two, you got to get another day job.”

Truth and Accuracy

Submit a Correction →

We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

, , , , , , , , ,
Parler Share
Andrew J. Sciascia was the supervising editor of features at The Western Journal. Having joined up as a regular contributor of opinion in 2018, he went on to cover the Barrett confirmation and 2020 presidential election for the outlet, regularly co-hosting its video podcast, "WJ Live," as well.
Andrew J. Sciascia was the supervising editor of features at The Western Journal and regularly co-hosted the outlet's video podcast, "WJ Live."

Sciascia first joined up with The Western Journal as a regular contributor of opinion in 2018, before graduating with a degree in criminal justice and political science from the University of Massachusetts Lowell, where he served as editor-in-chief of the student newspaper and worked briefly as a political operative with the Massachusetts Republican Party.

He covered the Barrett confirmation and 2020 presidential election for The Western Journal. His work has also appeared in The Daily Caller.