The third day of the Supreme Court confirmation hearing of Judge Amy Coney Barrett – which was the second day with questions form senators – yielded few religious liberty discussions, and none that made any significant advances over the first day of questioning. You can watch the exchanges below.
Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, asked Judge Barrett to discuss so-called “Blaine amendments,” which are state laws that restrict taxpayer funding of religion. Judge Barrett acknowledged, without explaining, that “we have to be careful about the Establishment Clause.” Lee goes on to ask about the panel decision she joined (Grussgott) in an employment case involving the ministerial exception.
Later that day, Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Missouri, questioned the nominee on her panel’s decision in Republican Party of Illinois v. Pritzker, a case decided just last month. There, the state GOP argued that exemptions for religious observance from COVID-19 restrictions must be extended to other secular gatherings. The court disagreed, and Barrett explained her view of the “special solicitude” extended to religion under the law.
The third day was the final day of questioning. On Thursday, the senators and Judge Barrett give their closing statements. In advance of the hearings, BJC researched Judge Barrett’s church-state record and sent the report to the Senate Judiciary Committee.