Amy Coney Barrett, President Trump’s third Supreme Court nominee, was confirmed to the highest court in the U.S. on Monday, Oct. 26. With just eight days until the 2020 presidential election, Barrett solidifies the originalist wing of the court.
Barrett, a graduate from and a former professor of law at the University of Notre Dame, spent two years, from 1997 to 1998, as a clerk for Judge Laurence Silberman of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and then as a clerk for Associate Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. After her clerkships, she moved into private practice at Washington D.C. law firm Baker Botts from 1999 to 2002. Notably, during her period of private practice, she was a co-counsel representing President George W. Bush in the case Bush v.Gore, which famously arose out of the close and contentious presidential election of 2000.
As a decorated professor of law at the University of Notre Dame, Barrett has received the Distinguished Professor of the Year award several times, according to the University of Notre Dame Law School. She specializes in constitutional law, statutory interpretation and U.S. federal courts, and has practiced in both trial and appellate courts in her time as an attorney.
After a period of professorship at University of Notre Dame Law School from 2002 - 2017, Barrett was nominated to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals by Donald Trump in 2017 —her first judgeship. She was confirmed to this position on Oct. 31, 2017 by a 55-43 vote.
After serving on the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals for less than three years, she was nominated by President Donald Trump for appointment to the Supreme Court following the passing of Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Following a month of contentious hearings in the Senate, Barrett was appointed to the court.
The Supreme Court, just beginning its 2020 October term, has a full agenda of cases that Barrett, along with the eight other justices, will rule on. For instance, California v. Texas, scheduled for argument on Tuesday, Nov. 10, will assess the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate, which requires all U.S. citizens to carry health insurance or pay a fine. The Court will also hear cases not related to healthcare — Collins v. Mnuchin will decide whether the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s structure is in violation of the separation of powers, and Brnovich v. Democratic National Committee will decide whether a series of Arizona voting laws surrounding provisional ballots and dropoff of absentee ballots violate portions of the Voting Rights Act.
Barrett has not ruled directly on the issues presented in these cases during her time as a judge, so it is difficult to know how she will interpret the facts presented and apply constitutional principles. However, as she stated during her confirmation hearing, “I don’t have any agenda...I have an agenda to stick to the rule of law and decide cases as they come.”