The Truth About Judge Amy Coney Barrett

The passing of Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg came as a shock for many of us. And while Ginsburg had communicated through her granddaughter, Clara Spera, that "My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed," that hasn't kept the media from speculating on a potential conservative successor to the much-loved liberal Supreme Court justice (via NPR). One of the names that has come up on top of the list is that of Judge Amy Coney Barrett (via CNN).

Barrett, who currently sits on the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago, is no stranger to the confirmation process — nor is she an unknown factor to the Senate. President Donald Trump had appointed Barrett to the Chicago court just three years ago, and he was reportedly "saving" her to replace Ginsburg. Axios, who spoke to several sources close to the president, claimed in 2019 that Barrett would be the perfect person to replace Ginsburg because "she is the most known quantity right now amongst the women on the list. ... And she also has the inside track in the sense that she was kind of battle-tested for having gone through a confirmation already."

Amy Coney Barrett is a favorite with conservatives

Amy Coney Barrett was born in New Orleans and graduated summa cum laude from Notre Dame Law School before becoming a member of the faculty in 2002. One of her mentors, Minnesota district Judge Patrick J. Shiltz, told the New York Times that "Her religious convictions are pro-life, and she lives those convictions. The question of what we believe as a religious matter has nothing to do with what we believe a written document says."

Barrett and her husband have seven children under 20, two of whom were adopted from Haiti, and one who was born with Down syndrome. She made religious news headlines in 2017 when Democratic lawmakers questioned her public statements and her faith during her confirmation hearing. Of particular concern is her connection to a small and obscure Christian group called People of Praise, which legal scholars have said could raise questions over independence and impartiality. 

Barrett's past decisions show alignment with conservative policies

The Washington Post says Barrett was behind an appellate court's decision to make it easier for students who were accused of sexual assault to challenge the way their universities might have handled their cases. In her decision, Barrett wrote: "We prefer to ask the question more directly: do the alleged facts, if true, raise a plausible inference that the university discriminated against John 'on the basis of sex'?... It is plausible that [university officials] chose to believe Jane because she is a woman and to disbelieve John because he is a man?" The ruling is seen as landmark because it has been adopted by several other courts.

Her ruling on sexual assault is not the only one that has triggered concern. Reuters says Barrett has also voted in favor of the administration's immigration policies, and has expressed support for increased gun rights. She objected to a court ruling saying that a non-violent convicted felon should be permanently prevented from owning a firearm. In that decision, she wrote: "Founding-era legislatures did not strip felons of the right to bear arms simply because of their status as felons."

These beliefs made her an obvious choice for Trump. "Amy Coney Barrett meets Donald Trump's two main litmus tests: She has made clear she would invalidate the A.C.A. and take health care away from millions of people and undermine a woman's reproductive freedom," president of Alliance for Justice Nan Aron told the New York Times.

Trump administration says it will present its Supreme Court pick this Friday or Saturday

The Trump Administration says it will present its pick to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg this Friday or Saturday, a week after she passed away (via The Guardian). President Trump has questioned the authenticity of Ginsburg's statement to her granddaughter, saying "I don't know that she said that, or was that written out by [California Representative] Adam Schiff or [House Speaker Nancy] Pelosi? I would be more inclined to the second."

Trump's presidential challenger, Joe Biden, has made his own feelings on the matter clear. On Friday, after Ginsburg's passing, Biden said: "Tonight and in the coming days, we should focus on the loss of the justice, and her enduring legacy. But there is no doubt, let me be clear, that the voters should pick the president, and the president should pick the justice for the Senate to consider" (via CNN).