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Montevideo, November 25th 2020 - 02:24 UTC

 

 

Catholic and “originalist” Judge Barrett ensures a conservative majority in the US Supreme Court

Tuesday, October 27th 2020 - 08:20 UTC
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Judge Barrett thanked Mr Trump for “entrusting me with this profound responsibility”, which she called the “honor of a lifetime”. Judge Barrett thanked Mr Trump for “entrusting me with this profound responsibility”, which she called the “honor of a lifetime”.

Amy Coney Barrett's nomination to the US Supreme Court came as little surprise. The long-term academic, appeals court judge and mother of seven was the hot favorite for the Supreme Court seat.

Donald Trump – who as sitting president gets to select nominees – reportedly once said he was “saving her” for this moment: when elderly Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died and a vacancy on the nine-member court arose.

It took the president just over a week to fast-track the 48-year-old conservative intellectual into the wings, and after a four-day confirmation hearing in the Senate, she was confirmed just over a week before the presidential election by 52 votes to 48.

In prepared remarks released ahead of the hearings, Judge Barrett thanked Mr Trump for “entrusting me with this profound responsibility”, which she called the “honor of a lifetime”.

Mr Trump has succeeded in tipping the court make-up even further to the right, just ahead of the presidential election, when he could lose power.

Judge Barrett's record on gun rights and immigration cases imply she would be as reliable a vote on the right of the court, as Ginsburg was on the left, according to Jonathan Turley, a professor of law at George Washington University.

“Ginsburg maintained one of the most consistent liberal voting records in the history of the court. Barrett has the same consistency and commitment,” he adds. “She is not a work-in-progress like some nominees. She is the ultimate 'deliverable' for conservative votes.”

And her vote, alongside a conservative majority, could make the difference for decades ahead, especially on divisive issues such as abortion rights and the Affordable Care Act (the Obama-era health insurance provider).

Judge Barrett's legal opinions and remarks on abortion and gay marriage have made her popular with the religious right, but earned vehement opposition from liberals.

But as a devout Catholic, she has repeatedly insisted her faith does not compromise her work.

Judge Barrett lives in South Bend, Indiana, with her husband, Jesse, a former federal prosecutor who is now with a private firm. The couple have seven children, including two adopted from Haiti. She is the oldest of seven children herself.

Known for her sharp intellect, she studied at the University of Notre Dame's Law School, graduating first in her class, and was a clerk to Justice Antonin Scalia, who, in her words, was the “staunchest conservative” on the Supreme Court at the time.

Like her mentor Justice Scalia, she is an originalist, which is a belief that judges should attempt to interpret the words of the Constitution as the authors intended when they were written.

Many liberals oppose that strict approach, saying there must be scope for moving with the times.

Categories: Politics, United States.

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