WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) delivered the following opening remarks during today’s hearing on the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to become an associate justice on the U.S. Supreme Court. Video of the senator’s full statement is available here, and excerpts are below.
“We claim you in Louisiana. We’re proud of the fact, in Louisiana, that you were born in Metairie—a suburb of New Orleans. We’re proud of the fact that you got a solid education at St. Mary’s Dominican High School. Come back and visit us. I know your mom and dad still live there, and we’re very proud of you and your career.”
“I hope we can talk about something else and that’s the role of the federal judiciary in American life. Now look, Judge, I’m not naïve. I understand this thing can turn sour real fast. We all watched the hearings for Justice Kavanaugh. It was a freak show. It looked like the cantina bar scene out of Star Wars. And I know, for someone unaccustomed to it, that it hurts to be called a racist. I think it’s one of the worst things you can call an American. I know that it hurts to be called a white colonialist, and I know it must hurt for someone of deep Christian faith like yourself to be called a religious bigot and to have it implied that, because you are a devout Christian, that you’re somehow unfit for public service. . . . It is unfair for my colleagues to suggest—some overtly, some more indirectly—that, if you’re put on the U.S. Supreme Court, you will be on a mission from God to deny health care coverage for pre-existing conditions for every American. I know that seems preposterous to you, and it seems that way to you because it is.”
“I think our founders intended federal judges to call balls and strikes. I don’t think our founders intended federal judges to be able to redraw the strike zone.”
“Politicians get to vote their preferences under our democracy. Judges do not.”
“I don’t think our founders intended members of the U.S. Supreme Court to try to rewrite our statutes or the U.S. Constitution every other Thursday to prosecute a social or an economic agenda that they can’t get by the voters. And that goes on in America every day. We’ve reached a point where one single, solitary federal judge, in a limited venue, can enjoin a federal statute or an executive order of the president of the United States for the entire country. And our founders never intended that.”