Judge Amy Coney Barrett has officially been announced as President Trump’s nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court following Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death earlier this month. The announcement came on Saturday, September 26th, after heavy speculation that Barrett was the top candidate.
Amy Coney Barrett — who accepted the nomination on Saturday — has been a Judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit since 2017. If confirmed, Barrett will be the youngest justice currently on the Supreme Court at 48 years old, reports the New York Times.
Barrett is President Trump’s third Supreme Court pick. His other picks followed the death of Antonin Scalia in 2016, the retirement of Anthony Kennedy in 2018, and the recent death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg on September 18th, 2020.
Barrett attended Notre Dame Law School, graduating in 1997, and is also a mother to seven children. A former law clerk to the late Justice Antonin Scalia, Barrett has come under heavy scrutiny due to her devout Catholic faith and her views on the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Amy Coney Barrett’s Stance on Current Political Issues
According to CNN, Barrett criticized Chief Justice John Roberts in a 2017 essay for defending the ACA.
“Chief Justice Roberts pushed the Affordable Care Act beyond its plausible meaning to save the statute. He construed the penalty imposed on those without health insurance as a tax, which permitted him to sustain the statute as a valid exercise of the taxing power,” Barrett wrote.
The court is due to hear an attempt to dismantle the ACA on November 10th, 2020.
Democrats are also concerned about Barrett’s stance on Roe v. Wade, a landmark Supreme Court decision which established women’s right to choose to have abortions, which could potentially be overturned if Barrett is appointed to the court; establishing a 6-3 conservative majority.
Barrett’s rulings on the second amendment — which establish the right to bear arms — have also come under scrutiny. In 2019, while hearing Kanter v. Barr, a case that denied a man found guilty of felony mail fraud from purchasing a firearm in the state of Wisconsin, Barrett was the lone dissenter. She defended her dissent by asserting that only dangerous individuals should be prohibited from access to firearms; simply being a felon should not automatically place one in that category.
Will Barrett Be Confirmed by the Senate?
The Republican-controlled Senate has been criticized by the Democrats for its support of a push to confirm a Supreme Court Justice so close to the presidential election.
Senator Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ken., are being cast as hypocrites after purposely stalling the 2016 Supreme Court nomination of Judge Merrick Garland by then President Barack Obama following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.
At the time of Justice Scalia’s death, Graham and McConnell claimed that it was only fair to wait until the election was over to decide upon a nominee.
Recently, Fox News reported that Democratic presidential nominee, Joe Biden, has called for the Senate to stave off a vote confirming Barrett. Opposing Barrett’s political views, Biden urged, “the Senate has to stand strong for our democracy… this is a time to de-escalate.”
Several senators such as Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Lisa Murkowski, R-Ala., have voiced concern over Barrett’s speedy confirmation. Republicans, which hold 53 seats while Democrats hold only 47, can afford to lose two senators in the eventual vote.
Democrats also looked to impeachment-defector, Senator Mitt Romney, R-Utah, to oppose Barrett’s confirmation. But Democrats were disappointed upon hearing that Romney would support McConnell’s effort to vote on Barrett’s nomination before the election.
The outcome is still hazy, however, as Amy Coney Barrett may get shot down by the Senate, putting President Trump and the Republicans in an imposition. If Biden should win the November election, it would be difficult for Republicans to ram another nominee through in time. Democrats have also floated the idea of expanding the Supreme Court to include more than nine justices.
Written by Thomas O’Connor.