While many Democrat senators on the Senate Judiciary Committee focused their 30 minutes of public questioning time for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett on attacking her for signing a pro-life document or political posturing about pre-existing conditions within Obamacare, one senator pivoted from the coordinated narrative to ask Barrett an unprecedented question.
Sen. Mazie Hirono of Hawaii paused lecturing Barrett about the dangers of the Supreme Court overruling the Affordable Care Act to ask her if she has a history with sexual harassment and assault.
“I asked each nominee these two questions, and I will ask them of you,” said Hirono. “Since you became a legal adult, have you ever made unwanted requests for sexual favors or committed any verbal or physical harassment or assault of a sexual nature?”
“No, Senator Hirono,” Barrett replied.
Hirono continued the interrogation by asking if Barrett had been ever legally involved as a party in a case concerning sexual assault.
“Have you ever faced discipline or entered into a settlement related to this kind of conduct?” Hirono asked.
“No, senator,” Barrett replied again.
Sen. Mazie Hirono asks ACB "since you became a legal adult, have you ever made unwanted requests for sexual favors or committed any verbal or physical harassment or assault of a sexual nature?" pic.twitter.com/6JgLkoIXIF
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) October 13, 2020
While Hirono’s questioning seemed to be out of place and unnecessary, Barrett acknowledged earlier in the hearing that she knew the judicial confirmation process would be “excruciating.”
“I don’t think it’s any secret to any of you or to the American people that this is a really difficult, some might say excruciating, process,” Barrett told Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham. “And Jesse and I had a very brief amount of time to make a decision with momentous consequences for our family. We knew that our lives would be combed over for any negative detail, we knew that our face would be a caricature and we knew our family would be attacked.”
Hirono’s unprecedented questions come just two years after now-Justice Brett Kavanaugh was accused of sexual assault by Christine Blasey Ford. In 2018, Democratic senators including Sen. Kamala Harris, the current Democratic vice presidential nominee, and Sen. Dianne Feinstein attempted to smear Kavanaugh’s character and reputation as a judge over sexual assault allegations that not only lack evidence but that the available evidence indicates are false.