‘Keep them above politics’: PoliSci Instructor weighs in on Supreme Court hearings

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Confirmation Hearings to appoint Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court began Monday.

If appointed, Barrett will be the fifth woman to ever serve on the highest court and the court will be a 6-3 conservative majority, but Political Science Instructor Nelson Beaulieu says it’s not a partisan body.

“It’s so important to keep them above politics. That’s why they wear black robes. They don’t wear blue robes, they don’t wear red robes,” Beaulieu said. “If we start to see it as a democrat or republican Supreme Court, the court’s reputation will be in tatters.”

Their job is to interpret the law as they understand it.

“Courts, generally, liberal or conservative, are very cautious when they make law. Usually, they stand by the things that have already been decided,” Beaulieu said.

According to Beaulieu, the courts tend to stand by precedent. So overturning of major court cases like Roe v. Wade and Obergefell v. Hodges, the ruling legalizing gay marriage, is unlikely but making small changes is a possibility.

“More limits placed on access to abortion, more freedom given to people are saying that serving certain customers would be in conflict with their religious liberties. Things like this,” he said. “I don’t think you’re going to see even a 6-3 conservative court overturn Roe v. Wade or do something as dramatic as upending the gay marriage ruling.”

Beaulieu says this will be the closest nomination to an election in American history, emphasizing the importance of an independent Judicial Branch.

“We don’t have republican judges, we don’t have democratic judges. We have judges,” he said.

Beaulieu says we can expect a vote along party lines at the end of the hearings.

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