The battle over Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination
Published 11:47 am Tuesday, October 13, 2020
It did not take long for President Trump to nominate a fine candidate to succeed the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS)
Amy Coney Barrett (48 years of age) is an American attorney, jurist, and academic who serves as a circuit judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. (Illinois, Wisconsin, and Indiana).
She has an impeccable resume. President Trump nominated Barrett to the Seventh Circuit on May 8, 2017. She was confirmed by the Senate. Before and while serving on the federal bench, she has been a professor of law at Notre Dame Law School, where she has taught civil procedure, constitutional law, and statutory interpretation.
She also clerked for the late SCOTUS Justice Antonin Scalia from 1998 to 1999.
From 1999 to 2002, she practiced law. While at Baker Botts, she worked on Bush v. Gore, the lawsuit that grew out of the 2000 United States presidential election, providing research and briefing assistance for Baker Botts’s representation of George W. Bush. Eleven months after her confirmation to the Seventh Circuit, Judge Barrett was added to Trump’s list of potential Supreme Court nominees. On September 26, 2020, Trump officially nominated Barrett.
Actually, Judge Barrett has been on Trump’s list of potential Supreme Court nominees since 2017, almost immediately after her court of appeals confirmation. In July 2018, after Anthony Kennedy’s retirement announcement, she was reportedly one of three finalists Trump considered when Brett Kavanaugh was nominated. Barrett’s nomination generally supported by Republicans. She is admired by conservative Christians, social conservatives, and the Republican base.
Democrats generally oppose the nomination, and are opposed to filling the court vacancy during the 2020 presidential election campaign.
Democrats are protesting the decision to fill the vacancy in a presidential election year because the Senate Republican majority had blocked the nomination of liberal Judge Merrick Garland by President Barack Obama in 2016. Judge Barrett is also tough and unafraid to speak her mind.
One of her most notable disagreements with her colleagues on the 7th Circuit occurred in 2019. In Kanter v. Barr, Barrett dissented when the court upheld a law that had a blanket prohibition for felons from possessing firearms. In this case, the defendant had been convicted of mail fraud.
The majority upheld the felony law by reciting the debunked theory that preventing non-violent felons from possessing firearms was “substantially related to an important government interest in preventing gun violence.”
In her dissent, Barrett pointed out that while the government has a legitimate interest in denying gun possession to felons convicted of violent crimes, there is no evidence that denying guns to nonviolent felons promotes this interest, and that the law violates the Second Amendment.
Confirmation hearings are set to kick off Monday. This will be another spectacle when some senators get another opportunity to show the American people how rude and disrespectful they can be. This spectacle will be worse than the past three. Election Day is just three weeks away.
Barring any unforeseen circumstances, Judge Barrett should be confirmed by a party line vote.
If she is confirmed, SCOTUS will consist of six conservatives and three liberals. This will ensure that SCOTUS will be solidly conservative for decades.