Who Is Amy Coney Barrett, Trump’s Supreme Court Justice Nominee?

Amy Coney Barrett is Donald Trump's nominee for Supreme Court Justice. She is an originalist who may replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died on September, 18, 2020 at age 87.

Here is a quick snapshot of who Amy Coney Barrett is and what she stands for.

Who Is Amy Coney Barrett

Amy Coney Barrett (born January 28, 1972) is an American lawyer, jurist, and academic who serves as a circuit judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. President Donald Trump nominated Barrett to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals on May 8, 2017, and the Senate confirmed her on October 31, 2017.

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.

Eleven months after her confirmation to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, Barrett was added to Trump's list of potential Supreme Court nominees. On September 26, 2020, Trump nominated Barrett to succeed Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the United States Supreme Court.

Amy Coney Barrett White House Reception Disaster

Unfortunately, during Amy Coney Barrett's 9/26/2020 nomination reception at the White House lawn outdoors, a number of people spread and contracted COVID-19. At least seven people have tested positive for COVID-19 who attended Saturday's SCOTUS nomination of Barrett.

Amy Coney Barrett herself had COVID-19 in the summer of 2020, but was tested negative before the nomination reception.

Who got COVID-19 at Amy Coney Barrett White House Nomination Ceremony
People circled tested positive for COVID-19

Unfortunately for the GOP, the SCOTUS nomination ceremony will likely turn out to be a COVID-19 super-spreader event. As such, this may weaken the American public's view that Donald Trump has the leadership to lead the country safely out of the pandemic.

Donald Trump announced early Friday morning Oct 2, 2020 that he and the first lady tested positive for COVID-19. He is now being treated at Walter Reed Memorial Hospital and says he is feeling fine so far.

May all those who tested positive for COVID-19 experience a speedy and healthy recovery.

How Does Amy Coney Barrett Interpret The Constitution?

Amy Coney Barrett’s selection is no surprise regarding her approach to the law. Barrett is an originalist – she tries to interpret the Constitution the same way the founding fathers did.

Republicans generally favor textualists, of which originalists are a subset, vs judicial activists, which Ruth Bader Ginsburg was considered.

Barrett is the third of three originalists that Trump has nominated to the Supreme Court. For what it’s worth, Trump did go out of his way to nominate a woman this time. This strikes me as an uncommon nod of respect to his opponents and what they stand for.

Being an originalist regarding the Constitution that was written on September 17, 1787 is alarming for many since so much has changed since then. For example the original Constitution didn't abolish slavery. Only until December 6, 1865 was the 13th amendment included to abolish slavery.

Amy Coney Barrett Education

Should Barrett be confirmed, she would be a black sheep among the justices with respect to education.

All of the current justices went to law school at either Harvard or Yale. Ginsburg transferred from Harvard to Columbia, and was tied for valedictorian. And all but one (Thomas) went to college at an Ivy League school.

Barrett did not attend an Ivy League college or law school. Considering the emphasis that the legal field places on educational background, this is an intriguing detail.

What’s even more fascinating is that, despite not attending a top-ranked university, she went on to clerk for ex-Supreme Court Justice Scalia (generally, only Thomas accepts clerks that did not attend such institutions).

Feedback on Barrett

Several of Barrett’s mentors have stated that she is brilliant, and this seems to speak to that. Elite educations are relatively new on the Supreme Court. So Barrett isn’t necessarily an unprecedented choice in this regard.

Beyond education, Barrett’s experience in private practice, as a law professor, and as a circuit judge is a bread-and-butter path to the high court, so she is much more conventional here.

Should Barrett be confirmed, it would supersede both Gorsuch’s and Kavanaugh’s confirmations in terms of political importance. Kavanaugh is an originalist who replaced the justice who was considered the “swing vote.” Gorsuch is an originalist who replaced an originalist.

Should Barrett, an originalist, be confirmed, she would replace an activist. From a president’s perspective, the opportunity to nominate 1/3rd of the Supreme Court in one term is titanic on its own, and the opportunity to replace someone a president completely disagreed with is rare indeed.

Trump has already had success with filling the courts, and if Barrett is confirmed, he might become the most influential president in terms of changing the judiciary in this half-century, even if he isn’t re-elected.

How Will Amy Coney Barrett Alter The Court's Future Rulings?

It’s hard to say what altering the composition of the court to five textualists and three activists could do to America’s legal system. Roberts is the new “swing vote” – he wrote the opinion that upheld the constitutionality of Obamacare.

Who is Amy Coney Barrett, Trump's Supreme Court Justice Nominee

Those who have gained rights under Roe (abortion) and Obergefell (same-sex-marriage) would have reason to worry about Barrett. However, from the perspective of stare decisis, reversing those decisions (particularly Roe-decided in 1973) would have disturbing effects on society.

Amy Coney Barrett is on record as saying she would respect all prior Supreme Court Justice decisions. In other words, Barrett will not seek to overturn previous rulings. This is despite Amy Coney Barrett being a devote Catholic with seven children, two of whom are adopted.

Perhaps this shift will provide some clarity to the justices over the responsibility they hold. However, in my opinion, only time can tell whether such landmark decisions are truly liable to be reversed.

Negative Feedback Over Amy Coney Barrett's Appointment

Given Amy Coney Barrett is an originalist who may replace an activist Supreme Court Justice, many women are concerned about Barrett's potential appointment.

Here are some thoughts from Julie Gunnigle a student of Amy Coney Barret at ND. Julie Gunnigle is a Democratic nominee for Maricopa County Attorney

While she had a reputation for collegiality and excellence in the classroom, the biggest lesson she taught me was that a person could be kind and civil while embracing an ideology that regards some individuals worthy of fewer rights and less freedom.

Make no mistake about it: Judge Amy Coney Barrett is an extremist pick. Her record on reproductive rights, coverage for preexisting conditions, LGBTQ+ rights, and the dignity of work is abysmal.

In Amy Coney Barrett’s America, women will be prosecuted for abortions, Americans will be stripped of healthcare coverage, we cannot marry who we love, and unions will be gutted. While I respect her record on teaching, she is unfit to fill the seat of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

With her nomination to the United States Supreme Court, the overturning of established precedent like Roe v. Wade is all but guaranteed.

That means the Maricopa County Attorney will have the discretion to prosecute people for their own private healthcare decisions.

Our government does not belong in these intimate spaces.

A Big Positive About Amy Coney Barrett

Politics aside, what I really admire about Amy Coney Barrett's is that she and her husband adopted John Peter from a Haitian orphanage in 2010. At the time, a powerful earthquake killed roughly 250,000 people and displaced 1.5 million people. John Peter was the second adopted orphan from Haiti. Years early, Amy and her husband adopted Vivian.

Donating time and money to help underprivileged children is one thing. But to open your home forever to two impoverished infants is beyond heroic.

I hav spent time volunteering at a foster shelter in San Francisco. I spoke to several of these traumatized kids and all they wanted was love and safe place to call home.

Amy Coney Barrett and her husband's actions speak loudly and should be commended. It is clear Barrett loves children.

Take Time To Understand Barrett's Background

Whatever you think about Amy Coney Barrett, it's important to spend time thoroughly going through her past decisions.

It is fair to say that half the country wants a new Supreme Court Justice to be appointed after the presidential election on Nov 3, 2020. Many Republicans are also on record as to say that if a Supreme Court Justice dies during an election year, a new one will be appointed after the election.

As a father to a daughter, I am extremely motivated to fight for equal rights for women. I'm glad that at least Donald Trump appointed a woman and not a man.

Rarely is one person as extreme as the media paints the person out to be. Let's hope the same is the case with Amy Coney Barrett.

After all, a Supreme Court Justice's responsibility is to interpret the law for the benefit of all Americans. Supreme Court Justices are supposed to be apolitical. Let's see what happens and hope for the best for America.