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Amy Coney Barrett pays homage to conservative mentor Antonin Scalia — ‘His judicial philosophy is mine too’

  • September 28, 2020

Judge Amy Coney Barrett laid out her judicial philosophy Saturday in remarks delivered after she was formally nominated for the Supreme Court by President Donald Trump, sending a clear signal that she will take a conservative approach to the law in the same vein as Justice Antonin Scalia.  

Barrett paid homage to Scalia, praising the late justice as her mentor. Scalia led the conservative wing of the high court before his death in 2016 and was a frequent target of liberal ire. 

“I clerked for Justice Scalia more than twenty years ago, but the lessons I learned still resonate,” Barrett said after she was introduced by Trump at the White House Rose Garden. 

 A former Notre Dame law professor, Barrett drew clear comparisons between her approach to the law and Scalia’s, saying “his judicial philosophy is mine too.” Her praise for Scalia will rally conservatives and anger liberals as the Senate prepares for a fierce election year confirmation battle.

 “A judge must apply the law as written. Judges are not policymakers, and they must be resolute in setting aside any policy views they may hold,” Barrett said. 

Scalia, nominated in 1986 under President Ronald Reagan, was the court’s most influential conservative. He was an opponent of gay rights, affirmative action and abortion rights, and said that the landmark case of Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided. 

Barrett also praised the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, whose vacant seat she will fill if confirmed by the Senate. She described Ginsburg as a trailblazer for women and praised her friendship with Scalia despite their deep philosophical differences. 

“Justices Scalia and Ginsburg disagreed fiercely in print without rancor in person. Their ability to maintain a warm and rich friendship, despite their differences, even inspired an opera,” Barrett said. 

Barrett is a conservative 48-year-old federal appeals court judge widely favored by social conservatives and the religious right. Her confirmation by the Senate to replace Ginsburg, a feminist icon and leader of the liberal wing of the court, would solidify a 6-3 Republican majority on the Court. 

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