The recent death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the second woman and first Jewish American justice, left a significant vacancy on the Supreme Court. Although we did not agree with her interpretation of the law, she was a poised and fierce fighter for her views.
On Sept. 26, President Trump exercised his constitutional duty and nominated Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Amy Coney Barrett to fill the vacancy. The Senate began our advice and consent process two weeks later, which is consistent with the typical length before the start of a Senate Judiciary hearing. Hearings during an election year are also typical in the 200-plus years of Senate history when both the White House and Senate are of the same party but delayed when the White House and Senate are of an opposite political party. This is a precedent that was affirmed by Democratic Senators Chuck Schumer and Joe Biden when they stated during the Bush Administration that they would not fill a Supreme Court vacancy during his presidential election year while the president and Senate majority were of a different party.
If confirmed, Judge Barrett will be the fifth woman ever to serve on the Supreme Court and the first woman to serve with school-aged children. As a Notre Dame Law graduate (graduating first in her class) and former law professor, she will also be the only justice on the court that did not graduate from Harvard or Yale. She is a woman of deep faith and a recognized scholar in the law.
Judge Barrett has been rated by the American Bar Association (a left-leaning legal organization) as “Well Qualified” for the Supreme Court. During the 2017 Circuit Court hearings Judge Barrett received letters of support from every full-time member of the law faculty at Notre Dame and from all the Supreme Court clerks with whom she served under every justice, including Justice Ginsburg’s clerks.
Last week, the Senate Judiciary Committee conducted four days of hearings as part of Judge Barrett’s confirmation process. Our Democrat colleagues spent the majority of their time trying to make Americans afraid of this mother of seven, lifelong educator and respected judge. They accused Judge Barrett of being opposed to health care, ready to undermine Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s legacy and eager to take away women’s rights and push America back to racial segregation, even though she is a woman and a mother of multi-racial children. It was truly a bizarre hearing.
Judges can have personal opinions and personal faith, like everyone else, but judges do not make policy. Congress and the president make policy. The Constitution asks judges to review the law and make a decision based on the law. Judge Barrett is highly qualified, has proven federal court experience, and has the proper temperament to make a stellar justice. Following her nomination’s successful debate and consideration by the full Senate, we look forward to supporting Judge Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court.