Why the Senate Should Confirm Judge Barrett

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Judge Amy Coney Barrett, President Trump’s nominee to succeed the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, is appearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee this week. Her confirmation seems very likely. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court confirmation process has become a predictable and partisan affair. At the moment, Republicans have the votes, now that filibusters no longer apply to Court nominations. But Judge Barrett deserves better than a partisan endorsement. She easily qualifies for a seat on the Court; there is nothing improper—or, as some have wildly asserted, unconstitutional—about confirming her now; and objections that she poses a unique threat of judicial activism are, as lawyers say, hard to credit.

Judge Barrett is a well-regarded legal scholar, with expertise in constitutional law and federal courts. Her reputation as a thoughtful member of the textualist school predates her current celebrity. As to her professional path, she placed first in her class at Notre Dame Law School, served as a clerk at the D.C. Circuit and then at the Court (for Justice Antonin Scalia), worked in private practice at a prominent D.C. firm, and spent many years on the faculty at Notre Dame. She has served as a judge on the Seventh Circuit for a couple years now. No one can doubt her acumen, and actually no one does. The objections to her nomination relate to other concerns.