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Health care, gun policies expected to be a focus during Amy Coney Barrett confirmation hearings

Northwestern professors available to comment

The first day of Amy Coney Barrett’s Senate confirmation hearings began today regarding her nomination to the Supreme Court. Barrett will face questioning from senators Tuesday and Wednesday.

Said political science professor Alvin Tillery: “Senator Kamala Harris faces the atypical situation of serving as a member of the Senate judiciary committee during a Supreme Court confirmation hearing while simultaneously seeking the second-highest office in the land.”

Professors from political science and Northwestern Pritzker School of Law are available to comment on the hearings.

Alvin Tillery is an associate professor of political science and director of the Center for the Study of Diversity and Democracy at Northwestern. His research in American politics focuses on American political development, racial and ethnic politics, and media and politics. He can be reached at

Quote from Professor Tillery
“The nationally televised hearing will present Senator Kamala Harris with an unprecedented opportunity to amplify the Biden-Harris campaign’s messaging on issues like healthcare and gun policies. The fact of the matter is that Judge Barrett’s approach to the constitution and political views put her far out of the mainstream of what the vast majority of the American people want on these two issues and a host of others. 

“Indeed, public opinion polls show that she is the least popular nominee in recent memory. In light of this reality, you can expect Senator Harris and her Democratic colleagues to be direct in challenging her views and the timing of the confirmation hearings. Since we live in a hyper partisan environment, there is really no risk to the Democrats for pressing their case against her.” 

Andrew Koppelman, the John Paul Stevens Professor of Law, can speak to the Affordable Care Act case before the Supreme Court. He is the author of “The Tough Luck Constitution and the Assault on Health Care Reform” (Oxford University Press, 2013) and “Defending American Religious Neutrality” (Harvard University Press, 2013). He can be reached at

Wrote Koppelman in a recent op-ed:
“Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has chosen to focus on health care as the principal concern raised by the Supreme Court nomination of Amy Coney Barrett. The press has zeroed in on one of her writings, which is remarkably sympathetic to earlier challenges to ObamaCare. But the issues in those cases are unlikely to come before her. The real danger lies in her more general willingness to entertain lousy legal arguments for anti-ObamaCare results.”

Daniel Rodriguez is the Harold Washington Professor of Law and previously served as a dean of the Law School. Among his focus areas are administrative law, local government law and federal and state constitutional law. He can be reached at

Martin Redish is the Louis and Harriet Ancel Professor of Law and Public Policy at Northwestern Law. He teaches and writes on the subjects of federal jurisdiction, civil procedure, freedom of expression and constitutional law. He can be reached at

John McGinnis is the George C. Dix Professor in Constitutional Law. His areas of expertise include constitutional law, international law and antitrust law. He is the author of “Accelerating Democracy: Transforming Government Through Technology” (Princeton 2013) and “Originalism and the Good Constitution” (Harvard 2013) (with M. Rappaport). He can be reached at