Amy Coney Barrett

Amy Coney Barrett

Andrew Lawson, Editor

Amy Coney Barrett was nominated to be the next Supreme Court Justice on Saturday, September 26th. Early in her career she clerked for late Justice Antonin Scalia and was originally considered to fill the vacancy left by Anthony Kennedy. That vacancy was eventually filled by current Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh and Barrett returned to teaching as a professor of law at University of Notre Dame in 2010. Finally, in 2017 she was confirmed by a vote of 55 to 43 to serve as a justice on the 7th US circuit court of appeals where she serves now.

Her addition to the court would seal a conservative 6-3 majority which is why her nomination is critical to both sides. She is a devout catholic and part of a Christian group which has led some Democrats to question her ability to be impartial. In response Republicans have accused Democrats of attacks on her faith. However, Barrett has vowed to be “mindful of those who came before me” and follow a judicial philosophy similar to Antonin Scalia’s.

Gun rights has become a major issue in recent years and Amy Coney Barrett would, if confirmed, have the opportunity to shape the future on gun control. In past rulings Barrett has sided with gun rights advocates. For example, in 2019 a man charged with felony mail fraud was refused the purchase of a firearm so he sued claiming that his rights were being violated. She sided with the man writing in her ruling that “Founding legislatures did not strip felons the right to bear arms simply because of their status as felons.” However, she did emphasize that legislatures had the power to prohibit dangerous people from possessing firearms. Barrett has followed tradition in that of conservative justices and ruled as she saw fit in order to protect the second amendment rights of United States citizens.

Similarly to gun rights, healthcare is becoming increasingly important so Barrett’s stance is crucial to know. As she does on gun rights, Amy Coney Barrett sides with conservatives and republicans especially on the Affordable Care Act. In 2017 the Supreme Court heard a case about Obamacare or the Affordable Care Act in which they upheld the law. In response, Amy Coney Barrett wrote a law review where she criticized the Chief Justice for siding with the more liberals justices claiming that he betrayed the tenets of conservative legal analysis. Her vote would effectively confirm the elimination of the Affordable Care Act and without a replacement 23 million would lose their health care coverage. There are many major decisions coming before the court this year and next year which is why this seat and the election are so significant.