The hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee on the appointment of Amy Barrett to the Supreme Court might be more remarkable for what didn't get said than for what did. Barrett herself, a Roman Catholic, could have pointed out that if legislators like the ones interrogating her really want a national commitment to abortion rights, they should enact one, instead of relying on federal court decrees to accommodate the people. If she said anything like that, I missed it.

One or another of the hostile Democrats who questioned her could have conceded that she's highly qualified, has a sterling record as an appellate judge and law professor, and should be credited when she pledges to keep her political and personal opinions out of her judicial decisions. The party would have earned some points. Instead, the Crats made themselves look foolish with tear-jerking anecdotes forecasting catastrophic outcomes from predicted high court decisions that she will certainly endorse.

One or another of the Republicans who addressed her could have actually let her talk about law. Instead they made fawning speeches in efforts to gain political advantage from their association with her. She was that good, even-tempered, open-minded, professional, direct. Her jurisprudence limits her to the text of the laws she applies, and this puts her in the company of some notorious political conservatives, the late Antonin Scalia, in particular, whom she considers a mentor. She could have cautioned any of her questioners, worried on that account, that they might want to consult the Constitution when they enact laws, to guard against fatal deficiencies brought to her courtroom.

She was accused of siding with employers and privileged litigants and authority figures in disputes with ordinary people. Barrett could have pointed out that our laws, enacted by the very people assembled to pass on her fitness, invariably favor the authorities and the privileged and almost never benefit ordinary people. She might have asked for a show of hands on the issue of whether judges should fill in the blanks left by the legislature or lean against the laws as written when they hurt innocent prople.

When the former prosecutor and current vice-presidential candidate, California Senator Kamala Harris implied that Barrett can be expected to curtail the rights of members of racial minorities, Barrett could have cited any number of prosecutions by Harris herself that exemplify the brutal treatment dark-skinned people receive at the hands of the criminal justice system, in California as elsewhere. She had to hold her tongue to keep clear of that topic.

Somebody should have pointed out the inconsistency of factional views on issues that keep coming up in the federal courts. One faction believes a constitutional right to abortion intrudes on states' right to legislate against it. Another faction believes a constitutional right to carry a firearm intrudes on states' right to legislate against it. Neither side acknowledges the other's merits, and so the issue of states' rights, contested here for over 200 years, shows no sign of receding into history any time soon.