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SCOTUS Nominee Amy Coney: A brief detailing of Barrett’s background and judicial history.

With the recent passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg and the subsequent nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to fill the court vacancy, the country’s legal future seemingly hangs in the balance. In the tradition of proper checks and balances, the average American should remain
knowledgeable about the Supreme Court’s newly nominated justice.

Barrett grew up in New Orleans as the oldest of seven children. Her father, Michael Coney, provided for the family through his career in law. Working for the Shell Oil Company, Coney balanced his duties in the Church as an ordained deacon and his attorney duties for the big oil corporation.

Barrett attended Rhodes College in Tennessee, majoring in English Literature and minoring in French. She graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor in Arts before studying at Notre Dame Law School where she graduated first in her class in 1997. Following her highly productive collegiate career, Barrett spent two years as a judicial law clerk for an appeals court judge in Washington, D.C., before working for the U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia in 1998 and 1999.

While practicing law in Houston, Texas, Barrett worked on the famous Bush v. Gore lawsuit that appeared in court following the 2000 United States presidential election. Barrett provided research and briefing assistance for Baker Botts LLP’s representation of George W. Bush.

Returning to Notre Dame Law School in 2002, Barrett taught courses including federal courts, constitutional law, and statutory interpretation. While at Notre Dame, Barrett thrice received the “Distinguished Professor of the Year” award. She was named a Professor of Law in 2010 and held the Diane and M.O. Miller Research Chair of Law from 2014 to 2017.

In May 2017, President Trump nominated Amy Coney Barrett to the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit following the retirement of Judge John Daniel Tinder. During the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on her nomination, Barrett was questioned about a law review article she co-authored in 1998. In the article, Barrett argues that Catholic judges, a populace which includes Barrett, should in certain circumstances “recuse themselves from death penalty cases due to their moral objections” to capital punishment, according to Politico. Barrett is on record stating that, “My
personal church affiliation or my religious belief would not bear on the discharge of my duties as a judge” according to a 2017 video newscast from C-SPAN.

There have been opposition efforts from progressive groups and activists since Barrett’s appointment to the Seventh Circuit, citing doubts to separate Barrett’s ability to separate her faith from her rulings on matters including LGBTQ+ rights and precedents, abortion and healthcare, as well as women’s rights and immigration issues.

Adding to the concerns, the New York Times has reported Barrett had signed an anti-abortion ad in 2006 calling to overturn the famous Roe v. Wade Supreme Court case, citing the belief that life begins at conception. This information directly contradicts her previous statements regarding her separation of faith and judicial proceedings. Barrett is now facing more backlash because of her recent nomination to the Supreme Court by President Trump.

Sources: Politico, C-SPAN, New York Times

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