President Donald Trump’s selection of Federal Judge Amy Coney Barrett to fill the U.S. Supreme Court seat left vacant after the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was praised by Arkansas’ two U.S. Senators. Ginsburg, 87, died Sept. 18 after a bout with cancer.
The president made the announcement Saturday (Sept. 26) during a ceremony at the White House.
“Judge Barrett’s extensive experience as a professor and litigator, record of academic success, and outstanding judicial record make her an excellent choice to serve on the Supreme Court,” noted a White House statement.
Barrett, 48, graduated Rhodes College in Memphis in 1994 with a bachelor’s degree in English literature, and graduated first in her class from Notre Dame Law School in 1997. She then worked two years as a law clerk for U.S. Federal Judge Laurence Silberman with the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. She followed that with two years as a law clerk with the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.
She returned to the Notre Dame Law School in 2002 and the classes she taught included civil procedure, constitutional law, and statutory interpretation. Barrett also served as a visiting associate professor of Law at the University of Virginia Law School and the John M. Olin Fellow in Law at George Washington University Law School. Barrett was nominated to the Chicago-based Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals by President Donald Trump on May 8, 2017 and confirmed by the Senate on Oct. 31, 2017. She was on the short list of potential Supreme Court nominees when President Trump selected Brett Kavanaugh to follow the retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy.
She is married to Jesse Barrett and they have seven children.
If her nomination is approved by the U.S. Senate, the court would have six justices appointed by Republican presidents and three appointed by Democrat presidents.
During her speech Saturday at the White House Barrett praised Ginsburg’s legacy of opening the judicial system for women, and said she would faithfully follow the rule of law.
U.S. Sens. John Boozman, R-Ark., and Tom Cotton, R-Ark., praised Trump’s choice, with Boozman saying Barrett is “well qualified” to serve on the nation’s highest court.
“I congratulate Amy Coney Barrett on her nomination to serve as a member of the Supreme Court. With her extensive legal and academic experience, she is well qualified for the job. As with previous justices nominated by President Trump, Judge Barrett has shown that she understands her Constitutional role and refrains from legislating from the bench. I have every reason to believe she will continue that same approach on the nation’s highest court. I look forward to meeting her and evaluating her nomination on the merits as the Senate proceeds with the confirmation process,” Boozman said in a statement.
Cotton said in his statement: “Judge Amy Coney Barrett is one of the finest legal minds of her generation and has now proven to be a wise judge as well. I congratulate Judge Barrett on her nomination and I commend President Trump for another outstanding choice. The Senate voted to confirm Judge Barrett to the Court of Appeals not even three years ago; since then, she has exceeded our high expectations for faithfully applying the law and upholding our Constitution. I therefore look forward to voting promptly for Judge Barrett next month and confirming her to the highest court in the land.”
U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Senate Minority Leader, said placing Barrett on the court will result in the end of the Affordable Care Act.
“The American people should make no mistake – a vote by any Senator for Judge Amy Coney Barrett is a vote to strike down the Affordable Care Act and eliminate protections for millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions. By nominating Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, President Trump has once again put Americans’ healthcare in the crosshairs. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to rage, unabated by this Administration, healthcare was already the number one issue on the ballot in November. President Trump has promised to nominate Supreme Court Justices who will “terminate” our health care law and decimate the health care system for American Indians and Alaska Natives,” Schumer noted.
Democrats have also said her confirmation to the court will overturn Roe v. Wade, which ensures abortion rights nationwide, and endanger recent progressive decisions on same-sex marriage and other LGBTQ issues.