I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Judge Amy Coney Barrett, the president’s nominee to serve on the Supreme Court. I can say with confidence that she is everything you could want in someone who would serve on our nation’s highest court. She was first in her class in law school. She clerked for a circuit court judge and a Supreme Court justice. She worked in private practice and in academia. And she currently serves as a highly respected federal judge in the Midwest, having received bipartisan support for her confirmation.
Her qualifications to serve on the Supreme Court are abundantly clear, but don’t take my word for it.
During her confirmation to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, support for Judge Barrett poured in from her students, colleagues, and peers – from both sides of the aisle. Every one of the Supreme Court clerks who had served with Judge Barrett during her clerkship with Justice Antonin Scalia wrote a letter to the then-chairman and ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee expressing their support for her confirmation. This included Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s clerks and other clerks from the liberal wing of the court.
In their letter, they wrote, “We are Democrats, Republicans, and independents, and we have diverse points of view on politics, judicial philosophy, and much else. Yet we all write to support the nomination of Professor Barrett to be a Circuit Judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. Professor Barrett is a woman of remarkable intellect and character. She is eminently qualified for the job.”
Judge Barrett’s colleagues from Notre Dame sent a similar letter, which was signed by every full-time member of the Notre Dame Law School faculty: “Amy Coney Barrett will be an exceptional federal judge. … As a scholarly community, we have a wide range of political views, as well as commitments to different approaches to judicial methodology and judicial craft. We are united, however, in our judgment about Amy. She is a brilliant teacher and scholar, and a warm and generous colleague. She possesses in abundance all of the other qualities that shape extraordinary jurists: discipline, intellect, wisdom, impeccable temperament, and above all, fundamental decency and humanity.”
Again, Judge Barrett’s experience, sound judicial philosophy, and stellar record stand on their own. That’s why Democrats have resorted to scare tactics to try to sink her nomination. They realize that it’s pretty hard to oppose Judge Barrett on the merits, so they’ve attacked her faith and her family. Democrats have even tried their best to imply they already know how Judge Barrett would rule on certain cases in the future.
No one knows exactly how Judge Barrett – or any potential judge or justice – would rule on a particular case, and why would we? Justices should be impartial and decide cases according to the rule of law, not a preferred or predetermined outcome. And we already know that about Judge Barrett. She will consider the facts of the case, the law, and the Constitution. She will rule based on those guideposts – regardless of her personal feelings or beliefs.
As Judge Barrett noted in her speech accepting the president’s nomination, “A judge must apply the law as written. Judges are not policymakers, and they must be resolute in setting aside any policy views they might hold.” That’s the kind of justice Judge Barrett would be. That’s the kind of justice all Americans should want.