Supreme Court Nominee Amy Coney Barrett’s Senate Judiciary Committee Confirmation HearingsOctober 13, 20202 min read
Expert: Paul M. Collins, Jr., expert on the Supreme Court and the topic of judicial politics, professor of political science and director of the legal studies program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst
Topic: Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett’s Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearings
Available: Via phone, email or video web conferencing
Paul M. Collins, Jr., a leading expert on confirmation hearings, is available to comment on Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett and her Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearings. Collins is the author of the books Supreme Court Confirmation Hearings and Constitutional Change (Cambridge University Press, 2013), The President and the Supreme Court: Going Public on Judicial Decisions from Washington to Trump (Cambridge University Press, 2019) and Friends of the Supreme Court: Interest Groups and Judicial Decision Making (Oxford University Press, 2008), in addition to more than two dozen articles on the federal courts. He has also contributed to The Conversation, Slate and The Washington Post on Supreme Court confirmation hearings.
The following quotes from Collins may be used with attribution:
“During their opening statements, Democrats and Republicans forecasted how they will approach the two days of rigorous questioning. Republicans will focus on Barrett’s qualifications and character, and praise her for her judicial philosophy. Democrats will grill Barrett on her originalist approach to judging, and her previous statements on the Affordable Care Act and abortion. Democrats will almost certainly try to get Barrett to recuse herself on cases involving the Affordable Care Act and the presidential election, citing the appearance of a conflict of interest. Barrett is unlikely to do this, as she is likely to follow other Trump nominees and refuse to answer questions on recusal and whether she agrees with Supreme Court precedents.”
“Democrats will also try to paint Barrett as outside of the constitutional mainstream. This will be challenging since Democrats will need to avoid appearing to have any sort of anti-Catholic bias, which the Republicans will jump on. To do this, Democrats will need to focus on her previous statements and votes on issues like abortion, gun control, business interests and LGBTQ+ rights, as well as her approach to judging.”
“Ultimately, what Barrett does or does not say is unlikely to matter much since Republicans appear to have the votes they need to confirm her. The Democrats know this, and are using this hearing in large part to speak to the American public about the failings of the Trump Administration on health care and the coronavirus crisis.”
More information about Collins, including additional links to his teachings and publications, can be found at https://blogs.umass.edu/pmcollins/. If you would like to speak with him or would like him to provide additional comment on Amy Coney Barrett and the confirmation hearings, please feel free to contact him via his ExpertFile profile page.
Paul M. Collins Professor of Legal Studies and Political Science / Director of Legal Studies
Paul Collins' research interests include understanding the democratic nature of the judiciary.