Amy Coney Barrett confirmed to Supreme Court bench

Ava Wittman, Staff Writer

President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee to fill Ruther Bader Ginsburg’s seat, Amy Coney Barrett, was confirmed on Oct 8. 

In the wake of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s passing, President Donald J. Trump nominated Justice Amy Coney Barrett to fill her seat. She has now been confirmed and will serve on the Supreme Court.

The move has been met with controversy on account of timing. Some say it was disrespectful to Ginsburg, seeing as she asked to not be replaced until a new president was appointed. Others say it was hypocritical of Republicans to confirm someone eight days before the presidential election on Nov. 3 when President Barack Obama was barred from confirming his nomination, Merrick Garland, back in 2016, eight months before the election. 

Barrett’s career consists mostly in the practice of law—a usual trend with Supreme Court Justices. She attended Notre Dame law school and served as a law clerk for two years, working most notably with the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. She also was a professor of law at Notre Dame. Barrett has been accused of being too inexperienced for the Supreme Court, although others have referred to her experience as more than enough to serve. 

While it is impossible to say for certain why Trump picked Barrett to be his nominee, it is speculated it is because she will satisfy a few boxes left unchecked for voters. She is a conservative, causing a hope for Republicans that she will rule in favor of them when it comes to controversial topics such as Roe v. Wade. Barrett is also appealing to Trump’s religious following, as she is a devout Catholic, and many of Trump’s supporters believe her rulings will align with his conservative and religious following. It has also been mentioned that, by nominating a female Justice,  some of the negative response towards a new Justice could be mitigated. However, there could possibly be pushback because Barrett is an originalist, meaning she doesn’t believe the meaning of the Constitution can fluctuate over time. 

“The American people have been profoundly impressed to learn of her achievements, her compassion, her generosity, her faith and her sterling character,” Trump said at Barrett’s swearing-in ceremony. 

Amy Coney Barrett walks the White House grounds with her nominator, President Donald J. Trump. Barrett was confirmed to fill Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s seat on Oct. 8. Photo courtesy of Vox.

It is expected that Barrett will be anti-abortion, especially considering Trump has said he would appoint Justices in an attempt to overturn the ruling of Roe v. Wade. However, Barrett herself has said in the past she thinks it unlikely that Roe v. Wade will have an opportunity to be overturned in the near future, although that does not speak to her stance on restricting it. Since Barrett worked with Scalia, who was conservative but occasionally ruled in ways considered more liberal, it could be speculated that perhaps Barrett will share similar views; of course, no one can say for certain. Barrett’s views on racism, especially systemic racism, are all but clear, as shown in an article by NPR reporting on a back-and-forth between Barrett and Senator Corey Booker, where Booker was pressing her for the research she has done on the bias within the United States judicial system. Barrett dodged the question on whether Obergefell v. Hodges, which gave gay couples the right to marriage, was the right decision, which has insighted anger in some LGBTQ+ groups. 

“I don’t think abortion or the right to abortion would change. I think some of the restrictions would change … The question is how much freedom the court is willing to let states have in regulating abortion,” Barrett said back in 2016. 

Barrett’s confirmation will shift the Court to a conservative majority, which has the potential to endanger some more liberal-leaning rulings, although technically a Justice’s job is to rule based solely on interpretations of the Constitution. Exactly what her confirmation will mean for the Supreme Court and our country as a whole remains to be seen.