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Trump nominates Amy Coney Barrett to Supreme Court, setting up election year confirmation battle

  • September 28, 2020

Barrett wrote in the article, co-authored with a professor while in law school, that the Catholic church’s opposition to the death penalty provided a reason for federal judges to recuse themselves in capital cases. She wrote that the same logic did not apply to abortion or euthanasia.

“We might distinguish between executing criminals and killing the aged and the unborn in this way: criminals deserve punishment for their crimes; aged and unborn victims are innocent,” she wrote.

Meanwhile, Barrett’s path to confirmation is bolstered by support among social conservatives, who accuse Democrats of attempting to put a “religious test” in the way of the Supreme Court vacancy. 

Barrett has only considered two cases touching on abortion as a federal appeals court judge, in both cases voting to reconsider rulings that struck down abortion restrictions. 

In both appeals, Barrett signed onto opinions authored by another judge, rather than independently outlining her thinking, making an assessment of her abortion jurisprudence more complicated. 

If confirmed, Barrett will be the youngest member of the Supreme Court. Her confirmation would make Trump the fist president to name three appointees to the bench since Ronald Reagan. 

The Senate Judiciary Committee will begin hearings on Oct. 12, which will be the fastest an associate justice nominee has gotten a hearing since the retired Justice Anthony Kennedy was nominated in 1987.

The hearings, which will last three to four days, will start off with opening statements by Judiciary Committee members followed by the questioning of Barrett and testimony from outside witnesses and legal experts. 

A final vote could take place at the end of the month, several days before election day on Nov. 3. 

Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said in a statement following the president’s announcement, “I’m very committed to ensuring that the nominee gets a challenging, fair, and respectful hearing. We move forward on this nomination knowing that the President has picked a highly qualified individual who will serve our nation well on the highest court in the land.”

Trump joked that the confirmation will be “extremely noncontroversial.”

“We said that the last time, didn’t we,” he said. 

Liberal groups immediately criticized Barrett’s nomination.

Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, said that Barrett would “turn back five decades of advancement for reproductive rights.”

Sarah Kate Ellis, the president of GLAAD, an LGBT advocacy group, said Barrett would be “a vote to undermine hard-won rights critical to all LGBTQ people, women and immigrants.”

Kris Brown, who leads the anti-gun violence Brady Campaign, said there was “every reason to fear that Judge Barrett would advance the extreme and unfounded views of the gun lobby on the Supreme Court.”

Meanwhile, those on the right jumped to support the former Scalia clerk.

The Judicial Crisis Network, a conservative organization, announced it had launched a seven-figure television and digital ad buy in favor of Barrett’s confirmation.

The Susan B. Anthony List, an anti-abortion group, said it had launched a six-figure digital ad buy in support of the judge. 

“President Trump promised to appoint justices in the mold of Scalia and Thomas.  He has kept that promise and I look forward to supporting Judge Barrett’s confirmation,” JCN president Carrie Severino said in a statement.

 SBA List president Marjorie Dannenfelser called Barrett an “absolute all-star.”

Sen. Josh Hawley, a conservative Republican from Missouri who was included on Trump’s list of potential Supreme Court nominees, said in a post on Twitter Saturday that the nomination was “a big moment for religious conservatives.”

“For years we’ve been told to take a back seat in #SCOTUS nominations, but not any longer. @realDonaldTrump has chosen a nominee in #AmyConeyBarrett who religious conservatives can call one of their own,” Hawley wrote. 

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