What You Need to Know About Amy Coney Barrett

The recent passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Sept. 18 left a vacancy in the Supreme Court, and President Donald Trump has nominated Judge Amy Coney Barrett to fill this role. Whether Barrett is appointed or not could shift the balance of the Supreme Court for decades. If she is appointed, Republicans will have a 6-3 majority in the Supreme Court. If not, whichever candidate wins the upcoming election will have the power to nominate a different judge. 

Barrett attended Rhodes College and then went on to Notre Dame Law School, where she graduated top of her class, earning the Hoynes Prize. After graduation, she worked as a clerk for the late Justice Antonin Scalia. She returned to Notre Dame in 2002 as a member of the faculty, where she remained until 2017. Now, Barrett lives with her husband and their seven children in South Bend, Indiana. She has been a judge on the Seventh U.S. Circuit Supreme Court since 2017. At only 48 years old, Barrett has the potential to serve on the Supreme Court for decades.

Barrett’s short history as a judge leaves a lot of room for speculation about some of her political views. She is careful to avoid sharing her opinion on overturning landmark cases, such as Roe v Wade, which gives women the right to have an abortion. However, she is very open about her pro-life stance. Barrett has deemed the decision to have an abortion as “always immoral.” Many speculate that if she is appointed, Republicans will use their majority to attempt to make abortions illegal, especially because President Trump pledged to appoint judges that would overturn Roe v. Wade during his 2016 campaign. 

If Barrett is appointed, she will sit on the Supreme Court when the Affordable Care Act is scheduled to be argued in front of the Court again, just one week after the Nov. 3 election. The judge is open about her disapproval of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, but again, she has not spoken about her opinion on the possibility of the law being overturned. 

One stance of hers that seems to remain unwavering is her religious faith. Barrett was raised as a devout Catholic and is still very religious to this day. Some of her colleagues have expressed concern about her ability to separate her religion and her potential role as a Justice, but Barrett assures that she would have no problem separating her obligation to the law and to her faith. 

In order to confirm Barrett before the election, the Senate would have to move quicker than usual. The average time between when a president makes their nomination and when the Senate votes is about 70 days, but this process is scheduled to happen in twenty days for Barrett. The Senate hearings, in which senators will question Barrett about her background and political stances, began Oct. 12. Then, the Senate is scheduled to vote on whether or not to appoint Barrett on Oct. 22, just 12 days before the election.