On Saturday, President Donald Trump announced his nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett, 48, as an Associate Justice to the United States Supreme Court. Barrett, if confirmed, would fill the vacancy left by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Speaking during an event in the White House Rose Garden, Trump called Barrett a “woman of unparalleled achievement, towering intellect, sterling credentials, and unyielding loyalty to the Constitution.”
After thanking Trump, Barrett acknowledged that her nomination represents “a momentous decision” for a president and promised that she would serve with her utmost ability if confirmed by the Senate.
“I love the United States and the United States Constitution. I am truly humbled by the prospect of serving on the Supreme Court,” she said.
Barrett acknowledged Ginsburg’s contribution to the Supreme Court.
“Should I be confirmed, I will be mindful of who came before me. The flag is still flying at half-staff in memory of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to mark the end of a great American life. Justice Ginsburg began her career at a time when women were not welcome in the legal profession, but she not only broke glass ceilings she smashed them. For that, she has won the admiration of women across the country and, indeed, all over the world. She was a woman of enormous talent and consequence, and her life serves as an example to us all,” she said.
Barrett remarked on the relationship between Ginsburg and the late Justice Antonin Scalia, whom she clerked for after law school.
“The disagreed fiercely in print without rancor and person. Their ability to maintain a warm and rich friendship, despite their differences, even inspired an opera. These two great Americans demonstrated that arguments, even about matters of great consequence, need not destroy affection, and in both my personal and professional relationships I strive to meet that standard,” she said.
Remarking on Scalia’s mentorship, Barrett noted the influence he had on her. “His judicial philosophy is mine too, 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,” she said.
She has said that she considers herself to be an originalist.
U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman, praised Barrett’s nomination in a released statement.
“Judge Barrett is highly qualified in all the areas that matter – character, integrity, intellect, and judicial disposition. She is an outstanding Supreme Court nominee by President Trump,” he said. “As the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, 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.”
Iowa’s U.S. Senators Joni Ernst and Chuck Grassley, both Republicans who serve on the Senate Judiciary Committee, praised the nomination as well.
“Today, Judge Amy Coney Barrett joins a growing, but still far too small, group of women nominated to serve on our nation’s highest court. Judge Barrett is an experienced jurist, a working mom of seven, an accomplished legal scholar, and a fellow Midwesterner,” Ernst said. “I look forward to meeting with and vetting Judge Barrett for this nomination. She deserves a fair and honest confirmation process—and I hope my colleagues across the aisle will work with us to make that happen.”
“Judge Barrett demonstrated her brilliant legal mind before the Judiciary Committee in 2017 and in more than 100 opinions since joining the Seventh Circuit. She is roundly revered in legal circles for her well-reasoned and deliberate decisions, as well as for her commitment to applying the law as written, regardless of outcome. She is eminently qualified for the Supreme Court. In the coming weeks, we’ll take another close look at her legal career, writings and decisions, and I’ll evaluate her nomination on the merits, as I always have,” Grassley said.
“I hope that the process going forward is one of respect and civility befitting the Senate and the Supreme Court. Americans, the nominee, and this committee do not deserve a repeat of the shenanigans on display from the left that we saw in 2018,” he added.
Former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic nominee for president, criticized the timing of the appointment and the nominee.
“Today, President Trump has nominated Judge Amy Coney Barrett as the successor to Justice Ginsburg’s seat. She has a written track record of disagreeing with the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision upholding the Affordable Care Act. She critiqued Chief Justice John Roberts’ majority opinion upholding the law in 2012,” he said.
“The American people know the U.S. Supreme Court decisions affect their everyday lives. The United States Constitution was designed to give the voters one chance to have their voice heard on who serves on the Court. That moment is now and their voice should be heard. The Senate should not act on this vacancy until after the American people select their next president and the next Congress,” Biden added.
Barrett has served on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit since 2017 after a contentious confirmation hearing where several Democratic senators challenged her Catholic beliefs. U.S. Senator Diane Feinstein, D-Calif., said to Barrett, “the dogma lives loudly within you, and that is a concern.”
She was confirmed 55 to 42 on October 31, 2017, with the support of just three Democratic senators.
Before serving on the bench, Barrett was a law professor at Notre Dame Law School and previously taught at the University of Virginia Law School and George Washington University Law School.
After graduating from Notre Dame Law School, Barrett clerked for D.C. Circuit Judge Laurence Silberman and Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. She later practiced trial and appellate litigation in Washington, D.C. at Miller, Cassidy, Larroca, & Lewin, and at Baker Botts.
She is married to Jesse Barrett, and they have seven children, including two children adopted from Haiti.