Harris questions Barrett about recusal from Obamacare case

Sen. Kamala Harris, the Democratic vice presidential nominee, pressed Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett about the process for recusal in a case before the court concerning the Affordable Care Act.

Video Transcript

KAMALA HARRIS: Sen. Leahy asked you earlier today, but I think it bears repeating. Do you think it is important for the American people to believe that Supreme Court justices are independent and fair and impartial? And that is a yes or no answer, please.

AMY CONEY BARRETT: Yes, Sen. Harris.

KAMALA HARRIS: A number of my colleagues have asked you today whether you would recuse yourself from cases on the Affordable Care Act. You did not directly answer their questions, and instead you described a process by which that would work or happen. And so my question is, isn't it true that at the end of that process-- regardless of that process-- that it would be you who ultimately would make the decision about whether or not you would recuse yourself?

AMY CONEY BARRETT: That is true, and I can't have you elicit a commitment from me about how I would make that decision in advance. That would be wrong.

KAMALA HARRIS: Right. And what I've asked you is that is it not correct that that is the process-- that ultimately it would be you, and you alone, that would make the decision about whether you would be recused.

You've already opined on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, and that position satisfied the president's promise to only nominate judges who would tear down the Affordable Care Act. And Senate Republicans rushed this process so that you could rule on this very case. The reasonable question about your impartiality will undoubtedly hang over this court's ultimate decision in the Affordable Care Act case if you refuse to recuse yourself. I strongly believe that.