President Donald Trump announced Saturday that he is choosing Amy Coney Barrett to fill Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg‘s vacant seat on the Supreme Court. His selection will kick off a mad dash to confirm Coney Barrett in the Senate before the election. Coney Barrett is only 48 and therefore could serve on the Supreme Court for decades to come. Given how influential she could be for the future of the United States, it’s important to know, who is Amy Coney Barrett?
Coney Barrett graduated magna cum laude from Rhodes College in 1994. From there, she went on to study law at Notre Dame Law School. She was an executive editor of the Notre Dame Law Review. She also graduated first in her class in 1997 with a Juris Doctorate summa cum laude.
From there, she went on to clerk for Judge Laurence Silberman of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit until 1998. From 1998 to 1999, Coney Barrett clerked for Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who died in 2016.
After her time clerking, she went to work at a private practice for a few years. She then turned her attention to teaching. She taught law at George Washington University before returning to her alma mater where she taught federal courts, constitutional law, and statutory interpretation.
In 2017, President Trump nominated Barrett to serve as a United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. Her religious beliefs as a Catholic became a major talking point during her Senate confirmation hearing. Coney Barrett’s defense of her devout faith made her extremely popular with religious conservatives. Several LGBTQ rights organizations opposed her nomination although everyone she had ever clerked for and the entire faculty at the Notre Dame Law School supported the nomination. The Senate eventually confirmed her nomination.
Coney Barrett is a favorite among religious conservatives. Her academic writings and court opinions demonstrate a conservative view of gun rights, sexual assault on campus, and abortion rights. Her critical views on Roe v. Wade, specifically, have been a major talking point surrounding her nomination.
Reactions to Coney Barrett’s nomination were predictably split down party lines. Republicans expressed desire to ensure Coney Barrett’s confirmation before the election. Democrats, on the other hand, were largely outraged by not only Coney Barrett’s more conservative views, but the idea of confirming a new Supreme Court Justice this close to a presidential election.
The Confirmation Process
Now that Amy Coney Barrett has been nominated, she will have to go through a Senate confirmation process before her appointment to the bench is made official. Senators will gather and question Coney Barrett about her record. At the end of the confirmation process, there will be a vote. Out of the 53 Republican senators currently in office, 51 are expected to vote for Coney Barret’s confirmation.
The hearings are set to take place October 12-15, just three weeks before the election.