by Justin O. Smith
Judge Amy Barrett: A Staunch Defender of Individual Liberty
Judge Amy Coney Barrett was officially nominated by President Donald J Trump on September 26th 2020 [4:06 PM CST], to fill the vacancy left by the death of Justice Ruth Ginsburg on the U.S. Supreme Court, a move that was anticipated days in advance by both critics on the left and the right of the political spectrum. Whatever the criticisms, she isn’t a “John Roberts” in skirts or a “statist” as portrayed by some of her conservative critics. More conservative than Roberts or Kavanaugh either one, a Catholic and a mother of seven children, Coney Barrett is an Originalist and a textualist when it comes to reading the U.S. Constitution, and she will be a staunch defender of individual liberty, from this position on the highest court in the land, once she is confirmed by the U.S. Senate.
President Trump offered this https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/remarks-president-trump-announcing-nominee-associate-justice-supreme-court-united-states/glowing nomination, stating: “Today it is my honor to nominate one of our nation’s most brilliant and gifted legal minds to the Supreme Court. She is a woman of unparalleled achievement, towering intellect, sterling credentials, and unyielding loyalty to the Constitution, Judge Amy Coney Barrett.” As Ms Barrett stood at his side, in the Rose Garden, classy and poised, he also offered, “I looked and I studied, and you are very eminently qualified.”
Wasn’t it poignant to witness Amy Coney Barrett (ACB) nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court on the 34th anniversary of her mentor Justice Antonin Scalia’s swearing in ceremony to the Supreme Court? It was wonderful and beautiful to see Maureen Scalia in the company of the gathered guests, for this momentous occasion.
In October 2017, Amy Barrett’s nomination to the federal court was confirmed by a vote of 55 to 43 to the 7th Circuit Court. Her confirmation actually received the affirmative support of Democratic Senators Joe Manchin (WVA), Tim Kaine (VA) and former senator Joe Donnelly (IN), but now, with so important an opening at stake, the Democrats have once more found a reason to become unreasonable to the point of being unhinged on this matter, since they are trying to force Senator Mitch McConnell to wait until after the election, offering every disingenuous and falsely premised excuse under the sun.
Does anybody really believe if the situation was reversed that Democrats would refrain from seating the nominee of their choice, for any reason they chose? I think not.
Judge Amy Coney Barrett thanked the President and accepted the nomination with these words: “I am deeply honored by the confidence you have placed in me. I fully understand that this is a momentous decision for a President and if the Senate does me the honor of confirming me, I pledge to discharge the responsibility of this job to the best of my ability. I love the United States and I love the United States Constitution. I am truly humbled by the prospect of serving on the Supreme Court.”
That’s music to our ears. Finally, someone in a high government position says “I love the United States” out loud and unashamedly.
Ms Barrett added: “I clerked for Justice Scalia more than twenty years ago but the lessons I learned still resonate. His judicial philosophy is mine too. A judge must be resolute and setting aside any policy views they might hold.”
On September 23rd, Representative Mike Johnson (LA) wrote an opinion piece for Fox News, that stated, in part: “Amy has been respected her whole life as a person of the highest moral integrity, and she has all the qualities that America needs and deserves in a Supreme Court Justice. She is brilliant, principled, hardworking, strong, and gracious. She reveres the Constitution, adheres to an originalist philosophy, and teaches and practices the importance of judicial restraint.”
No one can pretend that most of the hostility America currently sees aimed at Coney Barrett comes from the anti-American, anti-God, anti-Life socialists and marxists of the Democratic Party, who are intent on making certain the Supreme Court continues to stray from its proper constitutional role and also in making Barrett’s confirmation as incendiary an event as possible, because at the heart of this fight lies Roe v. Wade and the conjured and non-existent abortion “right”. These leftists want another Ginsburg type judicial activist, the sort that initially swept away the laws of fifty states in 1973 and trampled on the most basic fundamental human right, without any justification in the text, original understanding, logic or historical precedent within the Constitution. And, as the bottom line for the Democratic Party, especially its current presidential nominee, Joe Biden, any Supreme Court nominee must pledge fealty to this unconstitutional ruling.
Virtually every objection from the Leftist Democrats of Congress center on Amy Coney Barrett’s Catholic faith and the fact that she is the mother of seven children who holds the view that abortion is “always immoral”, and she has a clear anti-abortion record, from her three years on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, having already ruled to restrict access to abortions in two separate cases. Along with her expressed openness to severely limiting, or perhaps even ending, Roe v. Wade, if confirmed, Judge Barrett will consolidate the conservative majority and shift the balance of power on the court decisively towards a more conservative trend, shaping the American society for decades to come.
In October 2015, Judge Barrett signed a joint https://eppc.org/synodletter/ ‘Letter to Synod Fathers From Catholic Women’, in which she affirmed “the dignity of the human person and the value of human life from conception to natural death”, and in January 2013, she spoke of her own conviction https://magazine.nd.edu/stories/lazy-i-students-faculty-mark-40-years-of-roe/ that “life begins at conception.” It’s not hard to imagine her helping create a majority on the Court that eventually will overturn Roe v. Wade, possibly through an expanded view of what may legally constitute a “person” and all the rights that are associated with it.
During the September 6th 2017 Senate confirmation hearing for Amy Coney Barrett, despite Article VI of the Constitution forbidding the disqualification of anyone due to their religious convictions, Senator Dianne Feinstein, the Judiciary Committee’s ranking Democrat, dove right in with a vicious attempt to impugn Ms Barrett, as she told Barrett that “the dogma lives loudly within you, and that’s of concern … .”
Barrett pointedly and firmly responded: “I see no conflict between having a sincerely held faith and duties as a judge. I would never impose my own personal convictions upon the law.”
In an email to CBS News, Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List — an anti-abortion group, gave high praise to Judge Barrett, stating: “She is the perfect combination of brilliant jurist and a woman who brings the argument to the court that is potentially the contrary to the views of the sitting women justices.”
Ultimately, having graduated magnum cum laude from Rhodes College in Tennessee and summa cum laude from Notre Dame Law School, with the highest honors, she is extraordinarily qualified given the record of her career. She has litigated constitutional, commercial and criminal cases in both trial and appellate courts, as an associate at Miller, Cassidy, Larroca & Lewin in D.C., and she has taught law at the University of Notre Dame Law School, since 2002. Her appeal and standing as a highly woman of great intellect who is well qualified to assume a seat on the Supreme Court is further bolstered by the fact that she also clerked for Justice Antonin Scalia, one of the most conservative Justices on the Supreme Court before his death.
In 2017, Barrett described Chief Justice John Roberts’ ruling on the Affordable Care Act as something that went beyond its plausible meaning, differentiating it as a “tax” rather than a penalty, in order to save it. Barrett has also written that Supreme Court precedents aren’t sacrosanct, and the marxist illiberal Democrats have taken that as a threat to the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that gave legitimacy to abortion “laws” nationwide.
In June 2020, Judge Barrett was the only dissenter regarding the ruling that blocked federal enforcement of President Trump’s public charge immigration law in Illinois. Immigrants were prevented by this law from gaining legal residency in the U.S., if they relied on the welfare system, i.e. food stamps and housing vouchers, and it changed who was considered a “public charge” under the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965.
By and large, once one fully assesses and analyzes Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s decisions and rulings, one finds that she isn’t quite the government shill some would portray her as being. Just look at U.S v. Dimitris Terry [Feb 14th 2019], U.S. v David Watson [Aug 17th 2018], U.S. v Mandy L. Hagen [Jan 2nd 2019], U.S. v. Dandre Moody [Feb 7th 2019], and Alondous Briggs [Mar 27th 2019]. These are cases where Barrett was skeptical of the government’s arguments, as it tried to put individuals in prison, but her record does present a mixed-bag of sorts, since at times, she has also rejected claims by defendants and prisoners that her colleagues found credible; in other words, she does the best she can to give the most accurate and true ruling possible, based on her own experience and wealth of legal knowledge.
With a Fourth Amendment violation at the heart of U.S. v. David Watson, Barrett concluded that an anonymous tip did not provide reasonable suspicion for police to stop a car driven by a man with a felony record in possession of a firearm. She noted: “The anonymous tip did not justify an immediate stop because the caller’s report was not sufficiently reliable. The caller used a borrowed phone, which would make it difficult to find him, and his sighting of guns did not describe a likely emergency or crime — he reported gun possession, which is lawful.”
However — as I mention that I’m no lawyer but I do tend to research several layers deeper than most and I’m extremely conservative — many other conservatives have taken a fallacious understanding of Barrett’s recent ruling and mischaracterized her act of joining the majority http://media.ca7.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/rssExec.pl?Submit=Display&Path=Y2020/D09-03/C:20-2175:J:Wood:aut:T:fnOp:N:2574463:S:0 in Illinois Republican Party et al. v. J.B. Pritzker, Governor of Illinois, regarding the size of crowds allowed at political functions at the time, as “[allowing] Democrats to rip up the Constitution under the guise of safety”. I would urge everybody to read the full text of the actual ruling, while noting that Kavanaugh rejected the Illinois Republican Party’s argument first. Judge Barrett did take the disappointing maneuver of erroneously [in my opinion], hiding behind the Jacobson v. Massachusetts  ruling, but as she notes, basically, the Illinois Republican Party made a flawed and erroneous argument of their own and have no one to blame but their own legal team. But, one might also note, that recently, Western District of Pennsylvania Judge William Stickman rejected Jacobson as any argument for upholding the lockdown orders of Governor Wolf.
Daniel Shur of the Liberty Justice Center argued the party should receive the same exemption as religious groups, because religious and political speech rights “live at the heart of the First Amendment.”
Judge Barrett stated that it might be different, they had argued that the governor didn’t have the authority to make the order, but in this narrow scope, if the governor’s group-size limits exempted movements such as Black Lives Matter protests that have been conducted over the duration of his executive order, “you’re talking apples to apples, you’re talking political speech to political speech, and it’s the same right at issue. But here, the exception that’s been carved out for churches isn’t just speech to speech, it’s not apples to apples. It’s speech plus free exercise against speech.” She further noted that the First Amendment somewhat treats free speech and free religious exercise “a little bit as apples and oranges”, since they’re separated into two distinct categories.
U.S. Circuit Judge Amy St. Eve concurred with Barrett, as she noted that the Republican Party’s argument left the court wondering where it would draw a line distinguishing First Amendment rights about political speech from First Amendment rights “about some other cause.”
Professor Stephen Yelderman, a longtime friend and colleague at Notre Dame, recently noted: “… people are reducing Amy to an ideological category instead of taking her for who she is — an intelligent, thoughtful, open-minded person.”
In her closing statement as she accepted the nomination, Judge Amy Coney Barrett gently and humbly offered: “It is important at a moment like this to acknowledge family and friends. But this evening, I also want to acknowledge you, my fellow Americans. The President has nominated me to serve on the United States Supreme Court, and that institution belongs to all of us.
If confirmed, I would not assume that role for the sake of those in my own circle, and certainly not for my own sake. I would assume this role to serve you. I would discharge the judicial oath, which requires me to administer justice without respect to persons, do equal right to the poor and rich, and faithfully and impartially discharge my duties under the United States Constitution.”
Judge Amy Coney Barrett is a true American who loves our country, just as much, if not more, than most Americans, and she has carried herself as an impeccable, honorable and consummate professional. Her love of liberty for all Americans, along with her body of work offer the proof that she will absolutely rule on cases based on the text of the Constitution as written, and in the process, she won’t hesitate to hold the government and its officials’ feet to the constitutional fire, as a serious jurist and a superb Supreme Court Justice. Not since the day Justice Antonin Scalia was sworn into the Supreme Court on September 26th 1986 has their been a Justice of such a high caliber presented to the Court, and no American should doubt that she is qualified, as most who have followed her career rest assured that she will bring a much needed refreshing esteem and renewed sense of honor to the U.S. Supreme Court.