by Chris White
Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom falsely suggested Saturday that United States Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett once railed against tipping the balance of power in the court during an election year.
“Here is Judge Amy Coney Barrett explaining why it’s wrong to fill a SCOTUS vacancy during a presidential election year,” Newsom, wrote in a since-deleted tweet that included a video of Barrett in a 2016 media interview discussing the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who died that year of a heart attack at his Texas hunting resort.
Newsom’s tweet comes after Newsweek and other outlets falsely reported that Barrett said it would be inappropriate to nominate a Supreme Court justice who would flip the court’s “balance of power.”
Barrett did not say that such a move would be wrong or inappropriate, noting instead that past confirmations cannot inform present day ones due to the current contentious nature of the confirmation process.
“I gather that there have been six in the 20th century, and 11 if you go back to the Civil War, of confirmations that happened during presidential election years,” Barrett said, according to a Sept. 23 CBS report. “But I think the question is, what does this precedent establish? And I don’t think it establishes a rule for either side in the debate.”
She also discussed how replacing Scalia with a nominee by former President Barack Obama would change the court’s ideological makeup.
“Moreover, Kennedy is a moderate Republican and he replaced a moderate Republican, Powell,” she said, comparing the differences in Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy 1998 confirmation to the circumstances surrounding Scalia’s replacement.
Barrett added: “We’re talking about Justice Scalia, you know, the staunchest conservative on the court, and we’re talking about him being replaced by someone who could dramatically flip the balance of power on the court. It’s not a lateral move.”
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