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What You Need to Know About Trump’s Supreme Court Nominee

By Alisa Kingsbury

President Trump has selected Amy Coney Barrett as his third Supreme Court Justice nominee.

Barrett, a 48-year old jurist who currently serves as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago, was confirmed for her first judgeship in 2017. She has written 97 majority opinions, six dissents, and four concurring opinions. She has been praised by social conservatives not only for her strong Christian beliefs but also for issuing several conservative decisions from the bench on issues such as immigration and the Second Amendment. Her constitutional philosophy has drawn comparisons to Antonin Scalia, her former mentor and boss, for whom she clerked.

Barrett has never publicly and decisively opined on Roe v. Wade, although she has ruled on two abortion cases as a judge, both times in favor of more restrictions. She has said that she believes Roe will not be overturned outright, but she has also made it clear that she is open to reversing Supreme Court precedent if the Constitution supports doing so. Barrett is a Catholic and has said she believes life begins at conception.

Because of her relatively short judicial record, it is unclear where she would fall on DACA should it return to the Supreme Court, like it did earlier this year. However, she has consistently sided with other Republican appointees on politically divisive issues. On immigration in general, she has a mixed record. She upheld the Trump administration’s expansion of the “public charge” rule (which was ultimately overturned in the 7th Circuit 2-1) but also sided with her two liberal colleagues and wrote an opinion that revived a deportation case earlier this year.

Barrett wrote an opinion upholding qualified immunity, which has recently faced criticism, for two police officers who pulled over three Black men while investigating a shooting in August, 2019. However, she also wrote an opinion denying qualified immunity for a detective who made false statements in a sworn affidavit in January 2019. She also wrote a dissenting opinion for a case that upheld Illinois’s ban on felons owning firearms, and is likely to protect the Second Amendment if she is appointed as a Supreme Court Justice.

While on the surface it may look like Trump deserves praise for appointing a woman to fill Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s place on the Supreme Court, it is clear that even with only a few years worth of opinions given from the bench, Amy Coney Barrett will hold a vastly different legal philosophy from the notorious RBG. Adding another conservative on the already right-leaning court may significantly, and dangerously, impact the politically divisive issues above, reversing much of the progress RBG has made in her time on the court.

Alisa Kingsbury is a junior from Simi Valley, California majoring in Journalism.


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