A week ahead of the much-awaited US elections, Amy Coney Barrett, a conservative judge and Donald Trump’s pick, sworn as the supreme court judge filling the seat of the late liberal icon Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
The confirmation of an Amy Coney Barretta, a profoundly conservative judge draws a stark contrast to her predecessor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a fierce advocate of women’s rights.
Amy Coney Barrett was one of the three front-runners Trump had selected to replace Ginsburg in the US Supreme Court. Other two were Appeals court judges Barbara Lagoa and Amul Thapar.
Who is Amy Coney Barrett?
The 48-year-old Amy Coney Barrett is known as a devout catholic. She has a judicial record of being against abortion access and is popular among religious conservatives for thrusting to overturn the 1973 decision that legalized abortions across the United States.
Barrett graduated from Notre Dame Law School in Indiana and has served as a clerk under late justice Antonin Scalia. She later joined the law faculty at her alma mater, and was a member of an anti-abortion group called ‘Faculty for Life’.
In a 52–48 vote, Barrett became the 115th justice and the fifth woman to sit on the bench after Republicans overcame unanimous opposition by Democrats; Susan Collins of Maine, who herself is battling for re-election, also supported her. The confirmation of the candidate without a single vote from the minority party in 151 years history the States reflect Washington’s decades-old rancorous war over judicial nominations. However, President Donald Trump called the elevation of Barrett as the Supreme Court judge as a “momentous day for America.”
In October 2017, President Trump nominated Amy Coney Barrett to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago, where the Senate confirmed her in a 55–43 vote. During her confirmation hearing in 2017, she pledged to keep her personal views distinct and not let it get in the way of her duties as a judge. “If you’re asking whether I take my faith seriously and I’m a faithful Catholic, I am,” she had said. “Although I would stress that my personal church affiliation or my religious belief would not bear in the discharge of my duties as a judge,” she had added.
Amy Coney Barrett also made it to Trump’s list of potential appointees in 2018 to replace the retired Justice Anthony Kennedy on the US Supreme Court, and ultimately Brett Kavanaugh was chosen. According to an Axios report published last year, Trump had said, “I’m saving her (Barrett) for Ginsburg.”
Views of experts and critics:
Activists and analysts stated that ‘The apparent confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett to the supreme court denotes a “power grab” by Republicans facing possible wipeout at the ballot box. To critics, the rushed process represents one of the most naked power plays yet by a party which, confronting dismal opinion polls, is weaponizing unelected judges to compensate for setbacks in elections. Even as they contemplate the loss of political power, Republicans are poised to cement judicial power for generations,’ according to a report of The Guardian.
“This is like the last gasp by the Republican party to try to lock in their minority rule,” said Christopher Kang, co-founder and chief counsel of the progressive group Demand Justice. “They’re potentially just days away from not only losing the White House but also the Senate, maybe even resoundingly, and so they’re trying to do everything they can to consolidate on the supreme court a Trump supermajority for decades to come,” he added.
Her confirmation as the Supreme Court Judge is swaying the Supreme Court further to the right. The day is indeed “momentous” for the Republicans as the highest court is swinging to a conservative 6–3 majority. In an unprecedented move, Donald Trump has successfully confirmed his choice as the ninth supreme court justice.
Amy Coney Barrett and President Trump
Barrett, in her past judgements, has indicated her approval of several of President Trump’s extreme immigration policies and have also intimated her support for expansive gun rights. Last year, Barrett formulated a ruling, making it easier for male college students accused of sexual harassment to challenge the handling for their cases on campus.
In the season of intense political turmoil in Washington, Barrett’s influence will be felt right away as she will be faced with prominent high profile cases and election disputes from the battleground states of North Carolina and Pennsylvania. She will soon be stocked with significant cases related to programs and policies under Trump’s regime, issues related to the signature Trump administration immigration plans, Affordable Care Act, the rights of same-sex couples and the census and a case challenging Obamacare is also expected to come before the court soon.