Following the demise of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg due to prolonged illness, the US political sphere is abuzz with speculations regarding her replacement in the United States Supreme Court. The name of Amy Coney Barrett, who is a US Court of Appeals Judge, has emerged as a front-runner in the race to succeed Ginsburg. Her nomination makes a lot of sense as due to her gender, it is unlikely that sexual harassment allegations will surface against her at the last minute as they did against Justice Kavanaugh.
Barrett was nominated to the Seventh Circuit Courts of Appeal by President Trump in 2017. Thereafter, she was considered by President Trump to fill the vacancy in the Supreme Court left by Justice Anthony Kennedy as she made it to the list of potential nominees. Before being appointed as a judge in the Court of Appeals, she was a professor at Notre Dame School of Law where she has been a student as well. Amy Coney Barrett is a Catholic and her faith was a subject of scrutiny among liberals after her nomination to the court of appeals.
During her confirmation process to the federal bench, Barrett was subjected to a lot of scrutiny regarding her faith and her opinions on abortion and overruling the Supreme Court precedents. On the question of whether she would put her personal opinions above law while deciding matters, Barrett had made it clear that a judge should not be driven by his personal convictions whether they arose from religion or anything else and that he should always as per the law in deciding a matter.
Views on Abortion
Apparently, Amy Coney Barrett has the support of social conservatives but she is not a favourite of Democrats which became quite clear from the questions raised by Democrats on her faith during her confirmation hearing. Her views against abortion have also earned her the dislike of the Democrats. However, she had reportedly remarked in 2013 at her law school that the 1973 judgement in Roe v Wade that established a legal right of women to abortion in the US was not likely to be overturned by the Supreme Court ever.
She said that the judgement had become a super- precedent like Marbury v Madison and thus no court would overturn it. Barrett had said that the basic element if the judgement that women have a right to choose abortion is likely to stand.
Views on Stare Decisis
Her critics might also target her for her views on the principle of precedent. Amy Coney Barrett had reportedly advocated for flexibility in the application of the principle of stare decisis. She had said that the duty of a judge is to constitution and that it was more legitimate for her to enforce her best understanding of the Constitution instead of a precedent that in her understanding was in conflict with the it.
Liberals interpret Barrett’s views on precedent as a threat to the law established in Roe v Wade. They fear that she might overturn the ruling on abortion if she is on the Bench.
Views on Second Amendment
In Kanter v Barr, Barrett had given a dissenting opinion on the right of felons to gun-ownership. She had written in favour of gun-ownership rights of felons stating that the limitations on gun-ownership rights of felons convicted of violent crimes was in violation of the second amendment that protected individual’s right to bear arms.
Views on LGBT Rights
Barrett’s confirmation to the Court of Appeals was opposed by several civil and human rights organisations who were sceptical of the her views on LGBT rights. Barrett’s opinions on gay marriages and LGBTQ rights are not expressly found but she was reportedly a signatory to a letter addressed to Synod Fathers from Catholic Women. In the letter the Church’s teachings on marriage and family founded on the indissoluble commitment were hailed as sure guide to Christian life.