The 48-year-old Catholic Amy Coney Barrett is to take the place in the Supreme Court that has become vacant due to the death of the liberal judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg, there is little doubt about her confirmation by the Senate.
US President Donald Trump is sending a clear signal to his conservative base a few weeks before the presidential election on November 3rd – and hopes that important groups of voters will be mobilized.
Barrett: mother of seven, strict anti-abortionist
Because in conservative circles and among the religious right, Barrett is sometimes revered like a heroine. The mother of seven, who has two adopted children from Haiti and a son with Down syndrome, is a strict anti-abortionist.
Her religious views were always a stumbling block. During her time as a law professor at the renowned Catholic private university Notre Dame, she once said in a lecture that a career in justice is always only a “means to an end” – and the goal is “to build up the kingdom of God”. Critics hold this sentence against her to this day.
Bitter accusations from Democrats
At a Senate hearing for her confirmation as a judge at the federal appeals court in Chicago, Senator Dianne Feinstein accused her of the Democrats in 2017: “The dogma lives out loud in you.” But that only strengthened Barrett’s reputation with conservatives, one group even sold cups with the likeness of the lawyer and the Feinstein sentence. Barrett herself calmly replied to the senator that she could very well distinguish between her beliefs and her duties as a judge.
Barrett grew up in New Orleans in the conservative south of the USA and taught at this university in the state of Indiana for 15 years after studying in Notre Dame. For a while she worked for the conservative constitutional judge Antonin Scalia, who died in 2016. From him she adopted a conservative reading of the US constitution.
Barrett is valued for her polished legal arguments, but she has very little experience as a judge. Her 2017 appeal to the Chicago Federal Court of Appeals earned her her first judicial job.
Amy Coney Barrett is in favor of gun ownership
Your stance on the right to abortion – one of the most controversial issues in the US – is not the only point that raises the barricade of critics. She also campaigned for the right to own guns and has acted against the health care reform known as “Obamacare” by Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama.
“Amy Coney Barrett passed the two litmus tests for federal judges,” says Daniel Goldberg of the liberal lobby group Alliance for Justice. “The will to overturn Obamacare and the Roe judgment against Wade.” With the historic decision Roe against Wade in 1973, the Supreme Court anchored the fundamental right of women to abortion. Conservative and religious groups want to reverse that.
The chances of it grow with Barrett’s nomination: If it is confirmed in the Trump Republican-dominated Senate, as expected, Conservative Supreme Court justices will have a majority of six to three votes. This not only increases the conservative majority in the court; because the judges are appointed for life, it should last for years. The 48-year-old Barrett could serve as a constitutional judge for decades.
But Trump had another reason why he wanted to fill the post with a loyalist as quickly as possible: He himself has promised that the outcome of the presidential election could be contested and ultimately end up before the Supreme Court. It certainly doesn’t hurt to have as many sympathetic judges as possible in the Supreme Court.