Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett said during her confirmation hearing on Tuesday that “one of the beauties of America” is that the country engages in peaceful transfers of power.
Barrett initially declined to say whether every president should commit to that principle, saying that a question from New Jersey Democratic Sen. Cory Booker drew her into a political dispute between the president and his opponents.
“That seems to me to be pulling me in a little bit into this question of whether the President has said that he would not peacefully leave office, and so to the extent that this is a political controversy right now, as I said, I want to stay out of it and I don’t want to express a view,” said Barrett.
But after Booker pressed, Barrett responded, “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, and 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,” she added.
Booker then asked if the President has the power to pardon himself for any past or future crimes he may have committed against the country.
Barrett responded that that was a legal question, and in keeping with the Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s rule to not give “hints, previews or forecasts” of how she would rule on potential cases, she could not answer it.
Booker asked if she thought the President had a responsibility to disclose who his lenders are, citing the Emoluments Clause.
“There’s litigation about the Emoluments Clause,” said Barrett. “That clearly is an issue that’s being litigated, and one present in courts, and is not one on which I can offer an opinion.”
Booker responded, “I think it’s disturbing that we’re having this conversation.”