President Donald Trump on Saturday nominated Judge Amy Coney Barrett to fill Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s seat on the Supreme Court, setting up an autumn confirmation battle that could cement the court’s conservative tilt.
A U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit judge since 2017, Barrett was a finalist two years ago before Trump nominated then-Judge Brett Kavanaugh for the high court. She reportedly impressed the president as a “smart, hard-nosed, conservative jurist” who would perform well in confirmation hearings. Trump told advisers last year that he was “saving” Barrett in case Ginsburg stepped down during his presidency. She visited the White House Monday and Tuesday.
With more than two decades of judicial and academic experience, Barrett graduated magna cum laude in 1994 from Rhodes College in Tennessee, and first in her class three years later from Notre Dame Law School. The 48-year-old and her husband — also a Notre Dame Law grad and former assistant U.S. attorney — have seven children, including a biological child with Down syndrome and two adopted from Haiti. The family resides in northern Indiana.
By choosing Barrett, New York Post op-ed editor Sohrab Ahmari believes “the president would present the nation with an inspiring vision of what it means to be an American woman in 2020 — one that could by turn surprise and captivate the suburban women Trump is keen to court while also delivering for the GOP base.”
Barrett became a hero to religious conservatives after her 2017 confirmation hearing for a seat on the Court of Appeals, when Democrats questioned her Catholic faith. The forthcoming smears and histrionics could expose anti-Catholic bigotry against a successful working mother, who truly embodies the feminist ideal. Quite tellingly, she’s even been hailed as “a brilliant and conscientious lawyer who will analyze and decide cases in good faith” as well as a “sincere, lovely person” by liberals who know her.
The Louisiana native is strong on other hot button issues too, including abortion, gun rights, campus kangaroo courts and, opposite of Ginsburg, is an originalist and textualist. Some believe Barrett is an ideological heir to conservative icon Justice Antonin Scalia.
Writing in the Federalist this week, Willis Krumholz opined:
“Nominating Barrett also baits Democrats into revealing they are abortion extremists. Maybe a quarter of the country agrees with the official Democratic line on abortion — that’s it. What’s more, about a third of the Democratic voting base supports abortion restrictions and is marginally pro-life. Many of these voters are black and Hispanic Americans. Overall, blacks and Hispanics are more culturally conservative than much of the rest of America.”
Additionally, many Catholics live in crucial states like Arizona, Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Barrett could potentially help the electoral map, especially if Democrats overstep.
As for the popular topic of “diversity,” she checks the boxes; even Ginsburg once said it’s “good for the public to see that women come in all sizes and shapes, just as men do, and they don’t necessarily look alike or think alike.”
Barrett was chosen over Judge Barbara Lagoa. The Floridian was the first Hispanic woman appointed to her state’s Supreme Court in January 2019 and now serves on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. Judges Allison Jones Rushing of North Carolina and Joan Larsen of Michigan also were among the final contenders.
A.J. Kaufman is an Alpha News columnist. His work has appeared in the Baltimore Sun, Florida Sun-Sentinel, Indianapolis Star, Israel National News, Orange County Register, St. Cloud Times, Star-Tribune, and across AIM Media Midwest and the Internet. Kaufman previously worked as a school teacher and military historian.