Amy Coney Barrett steers the Supreme Court to the right, but not toward President Trump

  

Category:  News & Politics

Via:  texan1211  •  3 weeks ago  •  23 comments

By:   Richard Wolf (MSN)

Amy Coney Barrett steers the Supreme Court to the right, but not toward President Trump
The former federal judge and law school professor joined the court amid a pandemic, a hotly contested election and an avalanche of high-profile cases.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T



Amy Coney Barrett steers the Supreme Court to the right, but not toward President Trump

WASHINGTON - To hear Democrats tell it, President Donald Trump nominated Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court this fall in order to destroy the Affordable Care Act and prevail in any lawsuits over a disputed election.

Two months into Barrett's tenure, those fears look to be unfounded. But conservatives remain hopeful she will advance the cause of religious freedom, expand Second Amendment rights and cement a conservative majority on the nation's highest court.

They have reason to be confident. As successor to the late liberal Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Barrett made the difference last month in a 5-4 ruling that blocked strict COVID-19 limits on religious gatherings in New York. That ruling set a precedent the court since has applied in California, New Jersey and Colorado.

But the 48-year-old former federal appeals court judge and law school professor has kept a low profile since joining the court a week before Election Day, leaving few clues to what kind of associate justice she will be in the decades to come.

That low profile has come amid an avalanche of high-profile cases and controversies. In her second week on the nation's highest bench, the court heard a major case balancing religious liberty against gay rights. The next week brought the third major high court challenge to the Affordable Care Act in eight years.

The justices also have been forced to address a range of emergency petitions challenging President-elect Joe Biden's victory, state coronavirus restrictions and pending executions. Last week, they put off a final decision on the Trump administration's effort to exclude undocumented immigrants from the census count used to apportion seats in Congress.

© BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI, AFP via Getty Images President Donald Trump watches as Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas swears in Justice Amy Coney Barrett on Oct. 26, 2020."She jumped in right in the middle of things. It must have been very, very challenging," said Ed Whelan, president of the conservative Ethics and Public Policy Center.

Barrett also faced increased scrutiny because she was replacing Ginsburg, a liberal icon who fought a valiant battle against pancreatic cancer in hopes of outlasting Trump's presidency. Barrett's was the first nomination in nearly 30 years to change the court's ideological balance, and based on Biden's subsequent election, it came in the nick of time for conservatives.

"Your confirmation may launch a new chapter of conservative judicial activism unlike anything we've seen in decades," Democratic Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware warned during Barrett's confirmation hearing. "It could touch virtually every aspect of modern American life."

So perhaps it was not surprising that Barrett, an Indiana resident who teaches at Notre Dame, spent her first weeks on the court immersed in the details of the cases on its docket, rather than seeking out public attention. On her first day of oral arguments, she displayed a mastery of the details.

"So, in thinking about the 231g question and whether the denial of a motion to reopen determines rights or liabilities," she said, "I think, when you look at 261.2 and the regulations, if you're thinking about 261.2(b), you know, if a denial is essentially a conclusion that there was no new or material evidence of error, then I can see how that might qualify as a determination of a right or a liability."

"She's kind of keeping her head down and doing the work," said Elizabeth Wydra, president of the liberal Constitutional Accountability Center, which opposed Barrett's confirmation. "She has followed kind of the usual rookie justice playbook by sticking to the case at hand and being very studious in the way that she presents her questions."

Not Trump's 'pawn'


While keeping her head down, Barrett has shown some indication that she may not be the Trump sycophant Democrats warned she would be - and she swore she would not be.

"I certainly hope that all members of the committee have more confidence in my integrity than to think that I would allow myself to be used as a pawn to decide the election for the American people," she said during her Senate confirmation hearing in October.

At the same time, she has not bowed to Democrats' suggestions that she recuse herself from major cases involving the president.

In the Affordable Care Act case, the Trump administration agreed with Texas and other conservative states that the entire law should be struck down because its tax penalty was eliminated in 2017. Barrett wondered aloud why Congress would seek to eliminate the law, rather than just the tax.

"It would be odd for us to construe this statute as Congress saying, 'Well, we're going to change the statute in a way that's going to render it ... unconstitutional,'" she said, paraphrasing the government's theory.

Democrats' other main concern during the confirmation process was Trump's expressed desire to have Barrett seated in time to decide election disputes. But when that time came this month, neither Barrett nor the president's two other nominees, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, bailed him out.

The court refused twice to let Trump's state and federal allies, with his support, challenge election results in four battleground states critical to Biden's victory. In a case brought by Texas, the justices said the state "has not demonstrated a judicially cognizable interest in the manner in which another state conducts its elections."

While Trump was despondent, many conservatives were not.

"I never thought that she was being put on the court to strike down the ACA or to save Trump in an election dispute," said John Malcolm, who heads the conservative Heritage Foundation's Institute for Constitutional Government.

On another Trump priority pending at the court, Barrett noted during oral argument that the president's effort to exclude undocumented immigrants from the census count used to apportion seats in Congress was unprecedented. Still, she sided with conservatives in waiting to see if the policy has any effect, rather than striking it down now.

"You concede that illegal aliens have never been excluded as a category from the census?" she asked Acting Solicitor General Jeffrey Wall.

Principles and rules


Barrett's apparent skepticism about the Trump administration's positions on the census, health care and the election pale, however, compared to the promise she holds for conservatives who distrust Chief Justice John Roberts and have longed for a 6-3 majority.

For evidence, they look no further than the Thanksgiving eve ruling that elevated the constitutional guarantee of religious freedom above states' pandemic precautions. Thanks to Barrett, the new conservative majority ruled 5-4 that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's limits on houses of worship in hard-hit regions violated the First Amendment's Free Exercise Clause.

"Even in a pandemic, the Constitution cannot be put away and forgotten," said the unsigned majority opinion, which some court-watchers theorized Barrett had written. "The restrictions at issue here, by effectively barring many from attending religious services, strike at the very heart of the First Amendment's guarantee of religious liberty."

Conservatives are equally confident that Barrett will be part of a Supreme Court majority that rules Philadelphia cannot require religious providers of social services to place foster children with same-sex married couples.

Even so, Barrett indicated during oral argument she might not go so far as to endorse overruling a 30-year-old court precedent written by her mentor, the late Associate Justice Antonin Scalia, that said states can require religious objectors to abide by neutral and generally applicable laws.

Richard Garnett, director of the Church, State and Society program at Notre Dame Law School and a friend of Barrett's, said she sticks by legal principles in the face of political forces.

"There are judicial conservatives that are judges, and one of the things it means … is to follow principles and rules and not care about whether the government wins or someone else wins," Garnett said.

No 'rookie reticence'


One of Barrett's principles is the sanctity of the Second Amendment right to bear arms, which Associate Justice Clarence Thomas has lamented is a "disfavored right" at the high court.

In a dissent on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit, she wrote that nonviolent felony offenders should retain their right to firearms possession. Two cases raising that issue may be considered by the high court soon.

"These are very promising cases for gun rights advocates," said Adam Winkler, who specializes in gun policy at UCLA School of Law. "One of these cases is likely to be a vehicle for the Supreme Court to expand Second Amendment rights."

And then there is the holy grail of Supreme Court issues for many conservatives: abortion. Before becoming a judge, Barrett vocally and in writing opposed the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion nationwide.

The high court in June struck down state restrictions on abortion clinics for the second time in four years, signaling that its conservative shift under Trump had not eliminated a deep split over abortion rights. In that case, Roberts sided with the four liberals, though he differed on the reasoning. Since then, Barrett has replaced Ginsburg.

Other cases challenging abortion rights are at the court's doorstep, including one from Mississippi that would ban most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. The court has put off deciding whether to hear that case.

For now, conservatives who cheered Barrett's ascendance to the court have been content to wait and watch, even as the justices refused to hear Texas' effort to overturn Trump's losses in key states.

"The fact that the court didn't take that case does not make me overly concerned about Amy Coney Barrett's future jurisprudence," Malcolm said. "I don't think we're going to have any rookie reticence on the part of Justice Barrett."

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Amy Coney Barrett steers the Supreme Court to the right, but not toward President Trump


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Texan1211
1  seeder  Texan1211    3 weeks ago

Gee, ACB hasn't exactly turned the world upside down as many leftists predicted.

 
 
 
Krishna
1.1  Krishna  replied to  Texan1211 @1    3 weeks ago

WTF?

She's only been on the Court for just over half a year- - how could she have turned the entire world   jrSmiley_113_smiley_image.png   320 upside-down?

_______________________________________________________________ 

/sarc

 
 
 
Texan1211
1.1.1  seeder  Texan1211  replied to  Krishna @1.1    3 weeks ago

According to many of the people who were whining and bitching about he nomination, she isn't ruling as they insisted she would.

They were a bunch of liars who based their "predictions" on nothing more than their animosity towards a Trump nominee.

 
 
 
Texan1211
1.1.2  seeder  Texan1211  replied to  Texan1211 @1.1.1    3 weeks ago

P.S.

Your cute little pictures add absolutely nothing to the discussion.

 
 
 
Ozzwald
1.1.3  Ozzwald  replied to  Texan1211 @1.1.1    3 weeks ago
According to many of the people who were whining and bitching about he nomination, she isn't ruling as they insisted she would.

Yet.  She can't "rule" that way until the proper court case is presented.

They were a bunch of liars who based their "predictions" on nothing more than their animosity towards a Trump nominee.

Another "sweeping generalization"???

 
 
 
Texan1211
1.1.4  seeder  Texan1211  replied to  Ozzwald @1.1.3    3 weeks ago
Yet.  She can't "rule" that way until the proper court case is presented.

Lots of very fine folks insisted on telling me that she would rule how Trump wanted her to--especially on challenges to the election. They were wrong.

Another "sweeping generalization"??

Nope, just the truth. I get that it might not be recognized by some.

 
 
 
Ozzwald
1.1.5  Ozzwald  replied to  Texan1211 @1.1.4    3 weeks ago
They were wrong.

Prove it.

I get that it might not be recognized by some.

Only those with half a brain or more.  The remaining do recognize it.

 
 
 
Texan1211
1.1.6  seeder  Texan1211  replied to  Ozzwald @1.1.5    3 weeks ago

prove it?

LOL!

ACB already did it for me.

BTW, you didn't recognize it and had to ask for proof!!!!!

 
 
 
Tacos!
1.1.7  Tacos!  replied to  Texan1211 @1.1.1    3 weeks ago

In fact, she has already ruled opposite the way so many predicted she would in matters related to the election. How many will have the integrity to admit they were wrong? Not many, I expect.

 
 
 
Texan1211
1.1.8  seeder  Texan1211  replied to  Tacos! @1.1.7    3 weeks ago

probably not one

 
 
 
Ozzwald
1.1.9  Ozzwald  replied to  Tacos! @1.1.7    3 weeks ago
In fact, she has already ruled opposite the way so many predicted she would in matters related to the election.

If Trump's lawsuits had had any kind of evidence or rational argument to stand on, no matter how slim and outlandish, she probably would have.  Trick is that not even Trump's minions can make something out of nothing.

 
 
 
Texan1211
1.1.10  seeder  Texan1211  replied to  Ozzwald @1.1.9    3 weeks ago

oh "she probably would have".

yet more guesswork from you.

lol

 
 
 
Tacos!
1.1.11  Tacos!  replied to  Ozzwald @1.1.9    3 weeks ago
she probably would have

Way to keep hanging on.

 
 
 
Ozzwald
1.1.12  Ozzwald  replied to  Texan1211 @1.1.10    3 weeks ago
yet more guesswork from you.

Just like you.

 
 
 
Texan1211
1.1.13  seeder  Texan1211  replied to  Ozzwald @1.1.12    3 weeks ago
Just like you.

No, sorry, I merely went by her rulings.

Try it instead of guessing what she will do, as you have been doing.

 
 
 
Ozzwald
1.1.14  Ozzwald  replied to  Texan1211 @1.1.13    3 weeks ago
No, sorry, I merely went by her rulings.

But none of her current rulings have any bearing on why Trump selected her.

 
 
 
Texan1211
1.1.15  seeder  Texan1211  replied to  Ozzwald @1.1.14    3 weeks ago

right, you are making my point for me. she hasn't ruled like leftists said she would because she us a jurist, not a toadie.

 
 
 
Ozzwald
1.1.16  Ozzwald  replied to  Texan1211 @1.1.15    3 weeks ago
right, you are making my point for me. she hasn't ruled like leftists said she would because she us a jurist, not a toadie.

No, I'm saying she hasn't voted that way because the opportunity has not yet presented itself.  Any other claim you think I am making is in your mind only.

 
 
 
Texan1211
1.1.17  seeder  Texan1211  replied to  Ozzwald @1.1.16    3 weeks ago

sure, I am sure that's what you really meant all along!

 
 
 
Ozzwald
1.1.18  Ozzwald  replied to  Texan1211 @1.1.17    3 weeks ago
I am sure that's what you really meant all along!

Well, since that is what I have been saying, congratulations you finally figured it out.

 
 
 
Texan1211
1.1.19  seeder  Texan1211  replied to  Ozzwald @1.1.18    3 weeks ago

please do let me know when you figure it out. thanks!

 
 
 
Sean Treacy
2  Sean Treacy    3 weeks ago

The left wing fear mongering about conservative Supreme Court justices has been going on for generations at this point. Souter, of all people, was met by protestors claiming he would murder women if confirmed.  You'd think the  protesters showing up to protests with signs  with the justice's named left blank to be filled in when named would demonstrate even the most ignorant progressive how manufactured the hysteria is.  But nope, decades later, the same pattern plays out and the wild conspiracies , repulsive personal attacks, and claims of the incipient end of the Republic if nominee X is confirmed get rolled out  all over and the parrots who push these calumnies flush them down the memory hole.  

It's just a question of whether it will be lies about the candidate "Kavanaugh led rape gangs in high school" or legal terms progressives have no clue about that can be used to scare them. The "unitary executive" or "originalism" somehow become the means by which the Republic will be destroyed. And then promptly forgot once the nominee is confirmed. 

The idea that Barrett was somehow appointed to steal the election for  Trump is just  one of the dumber examples in this long list of fabrications going back decades.  Claims that Barrett was going to allow armed militias to interfere with voting were intimated by Senators like Klobacher and run with by left wing loons were always laughable on their face.  The Trump justices were never going to give him the election, or allow him to remain in power (the humor in claiming   originalists  were going to  extend the term of office of the President is underrated) and Barrett is  about the least likely of any nominee to  throw  Obamacare, she was on record as opposing doing so.  But once the court rules 7-2 with Barrett in the majority to allow Obamacare to continue, their hysteria about Barrett taking healthcare away from millions will be forgotten, just like they always are. 

 
 
 
Texan1211
2.1  seeder  Texan1211  replied to  Sean Treacy @2    3 weeks ago
The left wing fear mongering about conservative Supreme Court justices has been going on for generations at this point.

You nailed it right there.

It's what they do to rile their base up.

 
 
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