Justice Amy Coney Barrett, whom President Donald Trump appointed on Saturday to sit on the United States Supreme Court, is highly regarded by conservatives because of her traditionalist religious values that her critics say guide her reading of the law.
“A judge must apply written law. A judge is not a legislator “, wanted to reassure Mrs. Barrett in the rose garden of the White House, after the president had praised the” incomparable qualifications “of the magistrate.
“I love the United States and I love the Constitution of the United States,” said the 48-year-old woman, whose appointment must now be confirmed by the Republican-majority Senate to join the highest judicial institution in the country , succeeding the progressive Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died on September 18.
In 2018, Amy Coney Barrett had already been among Donald Trump’s favorites for a high court post, which was ultimately awarded to Brett Kavanaugh after a fierce political battle.
His profile, at odds with the very feminist “RBG”, indeed divides Americans.
A practicing Catholic, mother of seven children, two of whom are adopted from Haiti and a youngest with Down’s syndrome, Amy Coney Barrett is opposed to abortion.
After a childhood in New Orleans, in the conservative South of the United States, she graduated from Notre Dame Law School, a renowned denominational institution in Indiana, where she was then a professor for 15 years. .
At the start of her career, she worked for the conservative Supreme Court judge Antonin Scalia, from whom she espoused an “originalist” vision of the law, which requires reading the Constitution as it was intended when it was written.
This academic, praised for her chiseled arguments, has only been sitting as a federal judge since 2017, after being appointed by Donald Trump.
Its Senate confirmation process, mandatory under the US Constitution, had already been stormy. “Religious dogma lives noisily in you,” Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein had reproached him.
The formula had turned against its author, accused of intolerance, and had paradoxically increased the aura of the judge in religious circles. The ultra-conservative Judicial Crisis Network had even produced mugs bearing the image of the magistrate topped with the citation.
Without departing from her calm, Amy Coney Barrett had assured to distinguish between her faith and “her responsibilities as a judge”.
But his detractors are not convinced and cite his many articles of legal doctrine written from Notre Dame, and his more recent decisions as a judge which they say testify to his ideological orientation.
At the Chicago Federal Court of Appeals, she took positions in favor of guns and against migrants, women seeking abortions and the Obamacare health insurance law that Republicans want to dismantle.
“Kingdom of God”
One of his speeches, delivered to students of Notre Dame, is frequently criticized.
Presenting herself as a “jurist of a different style”, she had felt that a “legal career” was “a means of serving a cause” and that the latter was “to build the Kingdom of God”.
If she entered the Supreme Court, “Judge Barrett, who even opposed access to contraception, would be a scourge for women’s rights to reproductive health,” said Daniel Goldberg, director of the Alliance for Justice, a progressive legal lobby.
“She would join the other judges appointed by Trump to hurt our country for decades, long after she left the White House,” he predicts.
Conversely, conservative circles praise a “brilliant”, “impressive” woman. As proof of his popularity on the Internet, his fans have even portrayed him in Superman outfit.