Who is Amy Coney Barrett?


Courtesy of Wikipedia

Amy Coney Barrett is Trump’s nominee to fill Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s seat after her passing. A favorite among the religous right, if Barrett is confirmed by the Senate she would tilt the Supreme Court further to the right.

Jack O'Connor, Co-Editor-in-Chief

Back in September, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, an icon and inspiration to many, passed away leaving her seat on the Supreme Court empty. To fill Ginsburg’s seat the Trump administration nominated Amy Coney Barrett, an incredibly divisive figure who could shape American politics long after the Trump administration.

Back in 2017, Barrett was nominated and confirmed to be a judge on the Seven Circuit Court. Now only three years later, she has the possibility to become a Supreme Court justice. If confirmed by the senate, Barrett would become the youngest justice on the Supreme Court, being only 48 years old, meaning she could have an impact on the court for decades.

In her short time on the court, Barrett has become known as a constitutional originalist, meaning that Barrett believes laws should be interpreted based on their original intent rather than an updated understanding of the law. According to a University of Virginia study, this put Barrett as the most further right justice on the Seventh Circuit Court. 

Some of Barrett’s most notable court rulings include a 2020 ruling siding with the Trump administration’s decision to heighten the standards to obtain a green card and a 2019 case where she represented the minority in rejecting a gun control law that would prohibit felons from possessing firearms.

Beyond her previous rulings, President Trump’s decision to nominate Barrett so close to the election has made many Democrats upset at her nomination since back in 2016, Senate Republican’s blocked Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland.

In defense of the nomination, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnel said, “When their party controls the Senate, presidents get to fill Supreme Court vacancies . . . [but] when the opposite party controls the Senate, the Senate gets to block Supreme Court nominees.”

This answer didn’t satisfy many Democratic Senators who accused the Republicans of hypocrisy.

I think we should get a say on who the next justice is. Election day is right around the corner, and if Democrats win then Americans want a more liberal justice and if Republicans win then they want a conservative justice”

— Evan Heckler

“Why not just come to the floor and say I’m going to do whatever is best for my political party, consistency be damned, reason be damned, democracy be damned. They know there is no reason, no argument, no logic to justify flipping your position 180 degrees and calling it some kind of principle” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

“I think we should get a say on who the next justice is. Election day is right around the corner, and if Democrats win then Americans want a more liberal justice and if Republicans win then they want a conservative justice,” said Evan Heckler, a junior at SJHHS.

Being a former Law Clerk to past conservative Justice Antonin Scalia, many conservatives are hoping that if Barrett is confirmed she will move the Supreme Court further to the right. Republicans hope that this may lead to the over turn of the Affordable Care Act. 

This is an even bigger concern for Democrats because only two days after the election, the Supreme Court is expected to hear a case on the Affordable Care Act which with a conservative court could lead to the complete dismantlement of the ACA.

“Our number one job is to communicate exactly what is at stake for the American people if Republicans jam through this nominee. The elimination of the Affordable Care Act is at the top of the list,” said Schumer.

For religious conservatives they are hoping that a Barrett ascension to the Supreme Court will lead to the overturn of Roe v. Wade, the legislation which upheld the right for a woman to have an abortion.

During the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Barrett told Senator Amy Klobuchar, “Roe [v. Wade] is not a super-precedent, but that does not mean it should be overruled. It just means that it does not fall on the small handful of cases like Marbury v. Madison and Brown v. Board that no one questions anymore.” Leading many to believe Barrett isn’t opposed to overruling Roe

However many of the things that are making Barrett heralded among the right has made Democrats anxious about the future of not only health care and abortion rights, but also of any 

legislation they plan to pass if Joe Biden wins the presidential election.

If confirmed by the Senate, Amy Coney Barrett will undeniably have an impact on the future of the United States for generations to come.