Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI) talked and talked and talked during her Q&A time on Tuesday on the second day of the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett. But she didn't give the nominee much opportunity to answer. And that's a shame. Because several of the accusations that Hirono spewed deserved rebuttals.
Hirono brought up a phrase that Barrett had uttered earlier in the day. Instead of saying "sexual orientation," Barrett chose the term, "sexual preference." Twitter exploded, with viewers pretty much accusing her of being a bigot. And Sen. Hirono more or less agreed, saying she considered the phrase "offensive and outdated" in a mini lecture.
Let me make clear - sexual preference is an offensive and outdated term.— Senator Mazie Hirono (@maziehirono) October 13, 2020
To suggest sexual orientation is a choice? It's not. It's a key part of a person's identity.
The LGBTQ+ community should be concerned with #WhatsAtStake with Judge Barrett on the Supreme Court. pic.twitter.com/4TWyATMX0Y
"Sexual preference is an offensive and outdated term," Hirono said. "It is used by anti-LGBTQ activists to suggest that sexual orientation is a choice. It is not. Sexual orientation is a key part of a person's identity."
And that was that. No chance for Barrett to react.
Thankfully, Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) was up next. And before she got to the "sexy" topic of agency rulemaking, she began by granting Barrett the opportunity to respond to Hirono.
"I certainly didn't mean, and would never mean to use a term that would cause any offense in the LGBT community," Barrett said, adding that she was referring specifically to the holding of Obergefell v. Hodges, which legalized gay marriage.
Sen. Ernst proceeded to ask actual, relevant questions of the nominee, which put her mind at ease about Barrett's dedication to the rule of law.
Judge Barrett once again affirmed her dedication to the rule of law and the proper role of a judge. I have confidence that Judge Barrett will leave the politics to politicians and legislating to legislators. pic.twitter.com/N0O5jcIFd8— Joni Ernst (@SenJoniErnst) October 13, 2020
We wish Barrett would have had more time to clean up Sen. Hirono's remarks. Her questioning was all over the place. At one point she even asked Barrett is she had ever been accused of sexual assault. At least she's consistent.
Hirono begins by asking Barrett the same Qs she has asked every judicial nominee in recent years — if they've ever comitted sexual assault/harassment as an adult, and if they've ever faced discipline/entered into a settlement related to sexual assault/harassment. Barrett says no— Zoe Tillman (@ZoeTillman) October 13, 2020