Judge Amy Coney Barrett: a Future Supreme Court Justice?


Maia Berthier

Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s potential successor sits at the opposite end of the political spectrum, and, if confirmed, would shift the Supreme Court to hold a conservative majority.

Daphne Renoux, Staff Writer

Recently, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, one of the nine Supreme Court Justices, passed away. She left behind not only her legacy but also an empty seat on the Supreme Court. The president of the United States, Donald Trump, has now officially nominated Amy Coney Barrett to fill this spot. Barrett is from Indiana, where she is currently a Circuit Judge, but she is now being given a shot at making it to the highest court in the United States. The decision of her appointment to the Supreme Court now rests in the hands of the Senate.

Barret went to law school at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind., and later taught law there herself. She was appointed to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in 2017 by President Trump and is the first and only woman to occupy this position for Indiana. She is married with seven children, two of them being adopted, and is known for her conservative views. Barrett is a devout Catholic and is part of a religious group called the People of Praise.

Barrett has her own opinion about subjects such as guns and immigartion that align with those of the Republican party. She has stated she plans to try to change abortion laws and regulations for women. Additionally, she wrote a three-judge panel decision in 2019, which was unanimous, making it easier for men accused of sexual assaults or abuse on campus to challenge the accusations made against them.

“She will attempt to limit the reproductive rights of women and could also hurt the progress for equal rights for the LGBTQ+ community,” freshman Jonathan Brazda said.

President Trump has made clear that he wishes to fill in the empty seat in the Supreme Court as soon as possible. However many Americans, mainly democrats, want to hold off the confirmation while most republicans support it.

She [Barrett] is educated and has the experience, so I do think she would be a fit justice, even though I don’t agree with her at all.

— senior Isabella Rodriguez

As the presidential election has already started in the US, some have deemed it unfair for President Trump to fill in the seat now. Why? Well, if Trump were to lose the election, Biden could nominate a totally different person for the Supreme Court and drastically change the outcome of future court decisions.

Additionally, Biden is more likely to choose a left-leaning judge as nominee and change the dynamic as well as the balance between liberal and republican influences. The current President, however, has made clear that he strongly intends to nominate Barrett before the end of the election process.

Another point that has been debated with President Trump’s attempt to nominate a judge during an election year stems from controversy back in 2016. When President Obama had the opportunity to appoint a new Supreme Court Judge to fill in the seat left behind by Justice Scalia, no action was taken in the Senate to confirm or deny the nomination.

It was argued, at the time, that it was not fair for a president to appoint a Justice during an election year. Republicans filibustered the nomination to be able to later appoint someone of their choice if President Trump were to be elected. Now, however, the Republicans as well as the President are rushing the confirmation of Barrett as a new Justice on the Supreme Court.

“I do not believe Trump should fill the seat. I think the Republicans set a precedent in 2016 and are hypocrites to try and fill the seat in 2020,” senior Isabella Rodriguez said.

Legally, President Trump is well within his power to try to fill in the seat. After all, filling in a seat, or nominating someone to do so, right before or mid-election has been done before. However, only in rare cases was a judge ever actually confirmed that way.

Overall, there have been 20 instances, counting this year’s, where a president has nominated a candidate for the seat of a Supreme Court Judge during or near an election. In the end, only in 14 of these cases was a Judge confirmed by the Senate and appointed to the Supreme Court.

The Senate has the final say in the designation of a new Supreme Court Justice. They are able to withdraw or cancel, as well as confirm a nomination. Since the Senate is made up of a majority of Republicans, Barrett is most likely to be confirmed as the replacement of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. In the end, the future of the nation rests in the hands of the Senate with this nomination, whose choice will ultimately define a generation of legal decisions.

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