Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett refused to say Tuesday how she might respond if President Donald Trump does not agree to peacefully transfer the presidency if he loses the election.
U.S. Senator and former Democratic presidential candidate Cory Booker (D-N.J.) asked Barrett about what happens if Trump refuses to give up power, saying “I think it’s disturbing that we’re having this conversation.”
Trump, who is trailing significantly in polls against Joe Biden, has refused to say whether he would transfer power peacefully if Biden is declared the winner.
Trump has previously floated the idea of delaying the election and has suggested a record surge of mail-in ballots will lead to an election rife with fraud. He has also called on supporters to monitor polling places on Election Day. Barrett did suggest earlier in her confirmation hearing Tuesday that she could recuse herself in cases involving Trump.
Barrett would not provide Booker with an answer about what her response might be as a U.S. Supreme Court justice, saying she didn’t want to “express a view.”
“That seems to me to be pulling me into the question of whether the president has said he would not leave office. To the extent that this is a political controversy right now, as a judge I want to stay out of it, and I don’t want to express a view,” Barrett replied.
As Booker continued to press Barrett on the matter, she later said, “One of the beauties of America from the beginning of the republic is that we have had peaceful transfers of power and that disappointed voters have accepted the new leaders that come into office … That’s not true in every country. I think it is part of the genius of our Constitution and the good faith and goodwill of the American people that we haven’t had the situations that have arisen in so many other countries where those issues have been present.”
Wow. Under questioning from Booker, Coney Barrett won't even say that she thinks presidents should commit to the peaceful transfer of power pic.twitter.com/C7JveeawKZ
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) October 13, 2020
Barrett also declined to answer Booker when asked whether a president can pardon themselves for any crimes they commit.
CLIP: @CoryBooker asks Judge Amy Coney Barrett about condemning white supremacy, the peaceful transition of power and whether or not a president can pardon himself.
— CSPAN (@cspan) October 13, 2020
“In keeping with my obligation not to give hints, previews or forecasts of how I would resolve the case, that’s not one I can answer,” Barrett replied, citing the so-called “Ginsburg rule.” The Supreme Court nominee said it was a constitutional question, not a legal one, in explaining her reasoning.