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Amy Coney Barrett And The New Conservative Court

Amy Coney Barrett

Amy Coney Barrett being sworn as Supreme Court associate judge by Justice Clarence Thomas Image credit/Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

Posted: October 27, 2020 at 3:45 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

Update: Amy Coney Barrett has become the 115th Justice voted onto the US Supreme Court.

In a 52-48 victory, entirely along party lines, Amy Coney Barrett has become the 115th Supreme Court Justice confirmed to the bench in our nation’s history, filling the position vacated by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg just last month.

This vote makes her the 5th woman ever appointed to the position and the youngest member of the Supreme Court at this time. She is also one of the youngest ever to hold the seat at 48-years-old, though Justice John Jay was only 44-years-old when he took his oath.

Other Justices currently on the bench range from 53 years (Justice Neil Gorsuch) to 82 years (Justice Stephen Breyer). However, the bench’s average age is 63.4, now that Justice Barrett has been brought onto the fold. This represents a substantial lowering of the average age of Justices.

The Confirmation

Justice Barrett’s confirmation, completed one week and one day before the election, marks one of the closest votes to be held for a Supreme Court Justice. The entire process for Barrett to be nominated to her confirmation took less than one month. The official nomination took place at a Rose Garden ceremony on September 29, 2020, and her confirmation vote was held on October 26, 2020.

All 52 Republican Senators voted to confirm Justice Barrett while all 46 Democrat and 2 Independent Senators voted against.

About Justice Barrett

Justice Amy Coney Barrett is the first mother with school-aged children to be voted onto the Supreme Court. She is a graduate of Rhodes College and  Notre Dame Law School, where she obtained her law degree in 1997. She was also nominated to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in May of 2017 by President Donald Trump, with a confirmation vote on October 31, 2017.

Before serving on the U.S. Court of Appeals, she served as Professor of Law at Notre Dame Law School, teaching constitutional law, civil procedure, and statutory interpretation. She has also practiced law with Miller, Cassidy, Larroca & Lewin in Washington, D.C. as a litigation attorney. This practice later merged with Baker Botts and was part of the Bush v. Gore lawsuit from the 2000 United States Presidential Election.

Barrett is a conservative-leaning judge who has been known to make very religious-based comments in her personal life and the bench. While she has not been vocal about her views on the legality of the potential overturning of Supreme Court cases such as Roe v. Wade and Obergefell v. Hodges, there is some concern among more liberal Americans that she will seek to amend these rulings during her tenure on the Supreme Court.

Her swearing in ceremony has also taken place with Justice Clarence Thomas delivering the oath immediately after the vote.

The Supreme Court nomination of Amy Coney Barrett has raised many questions by Americans on both sides of the aisle about just what the President and Congress’ responsibilities are to the legal system and the American people. 

Amy Coney Barrett Nomination 

At this point, some believe that the nomination of a new Supreme Court Justice is well within the President of the United States’ rights and that the confirmation thereof is well within the rights of Congress and that it is their responsibility to do so. 

For some, the idea that the President would not nominate someone to fill the vacancy left by the death of a previous Justice as quickly and efficiently as possible seems almost ludicrous. And the idea that the Senate would then refuse to confirm said appointment seems even more so. 

Responsibility of the President

For those in favor of the decision they say that it is the responsibility of the President. They further believe he should do so as quickly as possible. Not only that, but they quote Ginsberg herself in saying the president’s job is not done in his final year. 

These individuals say that the President is well within his rights and responsibilities to be nominating a Justice. And further that the Senate must go through the legal process as soon as possible. But confirming a Justice so close to the election could have other consequences.

Against a Supreme Court Nomination

On the other hand, some believe differently. They believe that the best thing that the sitting president can do is wait for the American people to decide at the end of a presidential term. Only after the transfer of powers in January, the President should be responsible for nominating a Supreme Court Justice.

These individuals believe that the President should not make these types of long-lasting decisions right before an election. They believe that nominating someone is a way of trying to circumvent the will of the American public. Or to force through the current president’s ideals before a transfer of powers can potentially be made. 

However, other factors must be considered, as well. It’s not quite as black and white as to whether the President should or should not nominate someone.

Too Close to the Election

For those not in favor of President Trump’s decision, the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett just before the election has raised many red flags. This is because many believe that it is far too close to the election. Barrett was nominated less than a month before the election was set to take place. This means that for her to be confirmed, the process needs to be rushed through.

Avoiding a Stimulus Package

Not only that, but the Senate is currently not working on a stimulus package. This is because they say there is not enough time to complete it before the election. But they are finding time to confirm a new Justice. To many, this is a serious conflict and a problem that should be addressed.

Standing By Prior Decisions

Likewise, these same individuals feel that the Senate should stand by their decision when President Obama was president. When he attempted to nominate a Supreme Court Justice before the election, they refused to hold a hearing. Though there was a long span of time between the nomination and the election, the candidate was not considered. 


Consequences of Packing the Court

This process is seen as packing the court. Some feel it is the only way that President Trump sees getting another conservative Justice on the bench. However, if Vice President Biden were to win the White House, he could pack the court himself. Granted, it would be done in an entirely different way.

The question has been raised as to whether he would increase the number of Justices on the Supreme Court. This could be done to increase the number of liberal Justices on the bench. If this were to happen, it could raise even more problems and concerns from the American people. Even some of those who believe that President Trump should not be adding a new Justice does not support Biden’s idea of packing the court.

What It Means for the Candidates 

What this means is that both Presidential candidates could see repercussions from their decisions. There are many on both sides of the aisle that do not support President Trump’s decision. This is especially true in light of the response from the Senate to confirm the candidate. There are also those on both sides of the aisle who do not support the possibility that Vice President Biden could pack the court. As a result, the presidential candidates find themselves stuck in a rather difficult situation on these issues. As for the people, they will have to wait to see what could happen as a result

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