supreme court nomination
October 8, 2020

Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett has indicated she believes the Supreme Court was wrong on two high-profile cases, one recognizing a legal right to abortion and the other upholding the Affordable Care Act, and she evidently told Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) on Wednesday she believes the Supreme Court was correct to step in and stop a recount in Florida in 2000, controversially ensuring the election of George W. Bush. Coons told reporters he raised Bush v. Gore with Barrett in a phone call, and she had a "different view of that case" than he does.

Bush v. Gore is relevant now because President Trump, who nominated Barrett, has made it relevant. "I specifically asked her whether she would recuse herself from any election-related case because President Trump has publicly said that he wants her seated on the Supreme Court in time for the election so she can rule on any dispute," Coons said. "She made no commitment to recusal." That's a hard no, ABC News' Terry Moran reports:

Republicans are rushing to confirm Barrett, cementing a 6-3 conservative Supreme Court majority, and although several GOP senators are out with COVID-19, they are expected to seat her before the election. Peter Weber

September 28, 2020

Judge Amy Coney Barrett has yet to be confirmed to the Supreme Court, or even appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee, but there's been plenty of speculation about how she'll rule on certain cases if she fills the seat left vacant by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. When it comes to areas of the law related to science and the environment, however, "she's a bit of a cipher," Robin Craig, an environmental law scholar at the University of Utah told Nature.

Sure, there are some expectations. Given Barrett's reputation as a conservative-minded judge, other legal scholars believe she'll do her part to roll back environmental regulations and curb the Environmental Protection Agency's ability to impose its rules on industry. Daniel Farber of the University of California, Berkeley, said he thinks that a potentially-strengthened conservative majority on the high court would "pretty much" leave the world "with more climate change and fewer wetlands and less biodiversity."

But ultimately, Nature notes, the evidence just isn't there to get a clear picture of Barrett's specific thinking on science-related cases, since those don't usually come before the appeals court she oversees. As the Supreme Court has shown over the years, including some recent decisions, justices don't always follow the presumed party line. Read more at Nature. Tim O'Donnell

September 26, 2020

President Trump nominated Amy Coney Barrett for the Supreme Court on Saturday, and the early reactions from the nation's political leaders are in.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who is naturally at the forefront of the Senate GOP's push to confirm Barrett before the November election, was effusive in his response to the nomination. In a statement, he said Trump "could not have made a better decision" and called Barrett "an exceptionally impressive jurist and an exceedingly well-qualified nominee," leaving little doubt as to how he'll vote, assuming the nomination moves past the Senate Judiciary Committee, as expected. The committee chair, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), meanwhile, agreed that Barrett is an "outstanding" nominee, adding that he's committed to ensuring she receives a "challenging, fair, and respectful hearing."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) wasn't quite so thrilled, expressing particular concern for the future of the Affordable Care Act. "If this nominee is confirmed," Pelosi said in a statement, "millions of families' health care will be ripped away in the middle of a pandemic that has infected seven million Americans and killed over 200,000 people in our country."

Former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic presidential nominee, also focused on the ACA, which he helped usher in while serving as former President Barack Obama's second-in-command, stating that Barrett "has a written track record of disagreeing" with the high court's previous decisions to uphold the ACA. Biden made another call for the Senate not to vote on Barrett's confirmation and wait for the presidential election to pass before filling the vacancy. Tim O'Donnell

September 26, 2020

As expected, President Trump on Saturday officially nominated Amy Coney Barrett, a judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, for the Supreme Court following the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg last week.

Speaking at the White House, Trump described the 48-year-old Barrett, who traveled to Washington, D.C., from her home in South Bend, Indiana, for the nomination, as "one of our nation's most gifted and brilliant legal minds" and a "woman of unparalleled achievement, towering intellect, sterling credentials, and unyielding loyalty to the Constitution."

During her own remarks, Barrett first paid tribute to Ginsburg, who she said "smashed" glass ceilings in the legal profession. She also paid homage to the late Justice Antonin Scalia — and his famed friendship with Ginsburg despite their fierce legal disagreements — whom she clerked for in the late '90s. Barrett, who is well-respected in conservative circles, said she shares the judicial philosophy of her mentor. Judges, she said, "must apply the law as written" while "setting aside any policy views they might hold."

Barrett must now be confirmed by the Senate in what is expected to be a contentious process. While Barrett's legal opinions likely won't appeal to several Democratic lawmakers, the circumstances surrounding her nomination are what make this a particularly controversial nomination. In 2016, the Republican-led Senate blocked then-President Barack Obama's Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland, on the grounds that it was too close to that year's presidential election. There's actually an even smaller window between nomination and election this time around, but the GOP is ready to go through with the confirmation process, arguing the current situation differs from 2016 because the Senate majority and president hail from the same party. Tim O'Donnell

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