Democrats grilled two of President Trump's high-profile federal appeals court nominees at Wednesday's Senate Judiciary Committee hearings.
Lawmakers questioned 7th Circuit Court of Appeals nominee Amy Coney Barrett about her Catholic faith and 6th Circuit Court of Appeals nominee Joan Larsen about her view of executive power.
California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the Judiciary Committee's top-ranking Democrat, labeled Barrett's nomination "controversial."
"You are controversial," Feinstein said. "You are controversial because many of us that have lived our lives as women really recognize the value of finally being able to control our reproductive systems."
Feinstein questioned how Barrett, a Notre Dame law professor, would decide controversies involving abortion given her religious beliefs. Barrett responded by noting she would follow all Supreme Court precedents "without fail," including Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion.
Barrett also said she did not feel a judge's sincerely held religious views should ever affect a judge's legal decisions.
"It's never appropriate for a judge to impose that judge's personal convictions on the law," Barrett said. "I would never impose my own personal convictions on the law."
Feinstein pressed Larsen about her views on executive power and noted her tenure in former President George W. Bush's Justice Department, which Feinstein said proffered "sweeping theories of executive power."
"I would have absolutely no trouble ruling against the president who appointed me or any successor president as well," Larsen said in answer to a question from Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Chuck Grassley on Wednesday.
Barrett and Larsen are both former clerks of late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Larsen, a Michigan Supreme Court Justice, was formerly named on Trump's short lists of candidate for Scalia's vacancy and said Wednesday she first learned of her inclusion from a colleague after the list was made public.
Barrett, if confirmed, would serve as the first Indiana woman on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, which Indiana Sen. Todd Young noted in his introduction of her at Wednesday's hearing while recommending Barrett with his "strongest support."
Both Barrett and Larsen have come under fire from liberal activists seeking to obstruct their nominations.
The conservative groups who helped boost Justice Neil Gorsuch's Supreme Court bid, meanwhile, have rushed to the aid of Trump's judicial nominees under fire from Democrats. The Judicial Crisis Network spent $140,000 on an ad campaign urging the Senate to confirm Larsen to the 6th Circuit earlier this year.