Judge Amy Coney Barrett was announced as President Trump’s nominee for SCOTUS on Saturday. She gave a brief speech about her nomination at the white house rose garden the same day. (Photo in the public domain)
In the wake of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s passing, President Trump has nominated Judge Amy Coney Barrett to fill the now-empty seat in the Supreme Court. Barrett’s nomination has come to a lot of controversy, and many people are now left wondering whether to support her nomination or not. Supporting Barrett is a personal decision, but everyone should be informed on who exactly the newest nominee is.
Academic and Career Accomplishments:
According to Esquire, Barrett graduated magna cum laude from Rhodes College in 1994. She later attended the University of Notre Dame Law School on a full scholarship and graduated first in her class. After getting her Juris Doctorate or J.D., Barrett worked as a law clerk for three years. She began serving for Judge Laurence Silberman and later served under Justice Antonin.
Barrett later became a professor at her alma mater Notre Dame and worked there from 2002 to 2017. She taught classes such as constitutional law, federal courts, and statutory interpretation.
Barrett finally made her big break when President Trump nominated her to serve as a judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. Her nomination was met with some disapproval, but she ended up being confirmed by a 55-43 vote. Since her nomination, Judge Barrett has written over 100 opinions
General Political Philosophy:
Barrett is a conservative judge who has also been described as an “originalist” by multiple individuals. Her views also mimic her former mentor Justice Antonin Scalia, according to the New York Times.
Many politicians, such as Senator Dianne Feinstein criticized Barrett for being Catholic because they believe she will impose her beliefs on her rulings, but she seems very against having a religious bias. “It’s never appropriate for a judge to impose that judge’s personal convictions, whether they derive from faith or anywhere else on the law,” Barrett said when her faith was questioned during her confirmation to the 7th Circuit.
While personal beliefs should not affect Judge Barretts rulings, her beliefs on abortion are very clear. When Barrett was a professor at Notre Dame she was part of a group called Faculty For Life. Faculty For Life is an anti-abortion group consisting of Notre Dame faculty. Barret also signed a letter to Catholic Bishops affirming “the value of human life from conception to natural death.”
Besides Barrett’s personal beliefs on abortion, she has dealt with the issue multiple times in the courtroom.
In one case, her court removed a law tightening requirements for notifying parents of a minor seeking an abortion. Barrett was on the losing side of the argument because she believed the law should have gone into effect so the full impact could be assessed.
Later in 2018, Judge Barrett joined a dissent concerning two laws: one that banned abortions due to the sex or disability of a fetus, and another require fetal remains to be buried or cremated by providers. “None of the Court’s abortion decisions holds that states are powerless to prevent abortions designed to choose the sex, race, and other attributes of children,” said the dissent.
While serving in the 7th Circuit, Judge Barrett reviewed a law that prohibited both violent and non-violent convicted felons from owning a gun. In the dissent, Barrett suggested that the law should not apply to non-violent offenders. “History is consistent with common sense: it demonstrates that legislatures have the power to prohibit dangerous people from possessing guns. But that power extends only to people who are dangerous,” Barrett wrote in the dissent.
Just a week after the upcoming election, the Supreme Court is scheduled to once again review the Affordable Care Act. People have speculated that this particular case is the reason why Trump is rushing Judge Barrett’s nomination. Many conservatives have wanted the statue removed for a long time and with Barrett on the bench, it may happen.
In 2017, Judge Barrett criticized Chief Justice Roberts’s 2012 decision to sustain a provision on the law. “Chief Justice Roberts pushed the Affordable Care Act beyond its plausible meaning to save the statute,” Barrett said in a law review article.
While Barrett has not been outwardly anti-LGBTQ+ or dealt with any cases concerning the matter, she has been questioned about the topic before. The best example being during Barrett’s 2017 confirmation she was questioned by Senator Al Franken for speaking at an ADF training seminar.
ADF or the Alliance Defending Freedom is a far-right group that files lawsuits for what they characterize as “defending religious freedoms”. But, when their cases are further investigated it seems that “they are advancing an agenda of stigma and discrimination against LGBTQ people,” ThinkProgress wrote in a 2019 article.
Barrett was paid for a one-hour speech on constitutional law at one of ADFs training programs called the Blackstone Legal Fellowship Program. When Senator Franken questioned Barrett on if and when she knew that Blackstone was affiliated with ADF, she never gave a clear answer. She alternates between saying she learned from a check with the ADF honorarium, and she found it from the signature line in an email. She does, however, admit that she knew of the affiliation when she gave her speech.
The one thing people cannot dispute is that Amy Coney Barrett has the experience and qualifications to take a seat on the Supreme Court. Barrett will likely remain controversial over the course of her career, whether she ends up being confirmed to the Supreme Court or not. And if Barrett does get confirmed, everyone will finally see what kind of judge she is in the highest court of the land.
Hi! My name is Cassidy and I am a staff writer for The Mycenaean. I am also a member of Book Club and Tech Theatre.