Klobuchar questions Barrett on rolling back abortion rights

By: - October 14, 2020 5:06 am

Sen. Amy Klobuchar campaigning for former Vice President Joe Biden in Detroit, March 7, 2020 | Andrew Roth

U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar pressed Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett on Tuesday about why she doesn’t classify the landmark case that allows pregnant women to chose to have an abortion as “super precedent,” meaning Roe v. Wade would never be overturned.

Barrett told the Minnesota Democrat that scholars have noted that even though Roe v. Wade isn’t considered a “super precedent” case, “that doesn’t mean it should be overruled.”

During the Senate Judiciary Committee’s second day of hearings for Barrett’s nomination, Democrats continuously asked her about her thoughts on abortion cases and if she would overturn the landmark abortion rights ruling.

Barrett has not directly commented during the hearings on her personal views on abortion, but the Guardian newspaper found she signed her name in support of a 2006 newspaper ad sponsored by an anti-abortion group. Barrett is considered a favorite among conservatives and that has raised concerns with Democrats who fear she could roll back Roe v. Wade.


If she’s confirmed, she would shift the court considerably to the right with six conservative judges and three liberal judges.

Klobuchar pulled up an article that Barrett wrote in 2013 for a Texas law review journal about “super precedent” cases such as Brown v. Board of Education that ruled school segregation unconstitutional. She then asked Barrett if she considered Roe v. Wade to be “super precedent.”

“People use ‘super precedent’ differently,” Barrett said. “The way that it’s used in the scholarship and the way that I was using it in the article that you’re reading from was to define cases that are so well settled that no political actors and no people seriously push for their overruling, and I’m answering a lot of questions about Roe, which I think indicates that Roe doesn’t fall in that category.”

Barrett said that while not everyone agrees with the outcome of Roe, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it would be overturned.

“I am then left with looking at the tracks of your record and where it leads the American people,” Klobuchar said. “And I think it leads us to a place that’s gonna have severe repercussions for them.”


President Donald Trump nominated Barrett, a judge on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg who died Sept. 18 from complications of pancreatic cancer. Barrett, 48, clerked for the late Justice Antonin Scalia and worked as a law professor at Notre Dame University.

Klobuchar, with a RBG pin on her blazer, attended the hearing in-person while a few of her colleagues were remote due to coronavirus concerns.

During the beginning of her 30 minutes of questioning, Klobuchar stressed how “this hearing is not normal” and that “it is a sham” to rush a Supreme Court confirmation with 20 days until the presidential election.

“We should be doing something else right now,” she said. “We should be passing coronavirus relief.”

More than 215,000 Americans have died from coronavirus, and nearly 8 million have tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus. The House passed a coronavirus stimulus package, but talks have stalled in the Senate as Senate Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said his main priority was confirming Barrett to the Supreme Court.

Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.

Ariana Figueroa
Ariana Figueroa

Ariana covers the nation's capital for States Newsroom. Her areas of coverage include politics and policy, lobbying, elections and campaign finance.