President Trump announced that Judge Amy Coney Barrett would be his third nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court, succeeding the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Saturday, Sept. 26. Though the president is merely fulfilling a duty expressly defined in the Constitution, his decision has proven to be quite controversial. Since the announcement, Democrats and many in the media have vocalized their commitment to disrupting, stalling or otherwise making a mockery of Barrett’s confirmation process. While they will make every excuse under the sun in order to persuade Republican senators not to vote for Barrett’s confirmation, these attacks will likely fall short. Why is this? Because Judge Barrett is eminently qualified for the position, and the process is entirely legitimate.
The primary excuse used to delegitimize the process is the perception that, because of the nomination’s proximity to the upcoming presidential election, the confirmation must be postponed until after the next presidential inauguration. This perception is false, for a few reasons. Democrats frequently point to President Obama’s lapsed nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court to accuse Barrett’s supporters of hypocrisy. However, in doing so, they fail to appreciate the powers held by the Senate majority party. In 2016 and today, Mitch McConnell and the Senate Republicans held the power of the United States Senate; thus, they had the ability to decide whether or not to hold a vote on any given Supreme Court nominee. If it would behoove Republicans to hold the hearings before the elections, they would have the ability to do so; likewise, if they decided they would prefer to hold them after the next inauguration (as was done in Justice Gorsuch’s nomination), they would be able to. This is simply the nature of being the ruling party, and if Democrats had been in the majority at the time, they likely would have done the same thing.
Another false notion concerning Barrett’s nomination is that it would necessarily be rushed and incomplete. This accusation simply reflects ignorance of history. There have been several Supreme Court nominees who received swift confirmation hearings; notably, Justice Ginsburg’s confirmation lasted 42 days, and Justices Anthony Kennedy, John Paul Stevens, Lewis Powell and Warren Burger were all confirmed within 14 days.
With the actual process out of the way, let’s elaborate on Judge Barrett and her qualifications. Barrett currently serves on the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, where she has established a reputation as a judicial originalist and a fierce defender of the Constitution. In her decisions on the court, she has consistently opposed judicial activism, a practice that routinely usurps power from Congress through legislation from the bench. While members of the political left have made clear their opposition to originalism, the primary focus of their attacks on Barrett has not been her judicial philosophy. Rather, they disgracefully pounce on her personal life.
First, Barrett’s Catholic faith has become the subject of numerous callous attacks. These attacks appear to be tantamount to an unconstitutional religious test on a Supreme Court nominee, but even if we disregard that, it is clear that those who impugn her faith seem to have little respect for the truth. They have repeatedly sought to paint a fairly mainstream Catholic community, of which Barrett is a member, as a cult dedicated to the oppression of women, and have even falsely claim that the group was the inspiration for “The Handmaid’s Tale.”
Not limiting their ire to Barrett’s religion, several left-wingers have attacked her adoption of two children born in Haiti. There is no evidence that Judge Barrett has been anything but a loving mother to her children, but nonetheless, baseless accusations of illegal adoption and vicious assertions that she is a “white colonizer” have been thrown around. All of this blind rage and hysteria obviously stems from horror at the idea of Justice Ginsburg being replaced by an originalist. If your problem with Barrett as a nominee lies with her judicial philosophy, please just come clean and say that, instead of resorting to foolish tactics like attacks on her personal life and empty appeals to so-called Senate tradition.