The Supreme Majority


Caroline Croft, Senior Editor

     On September 26th, 2020, President Donald Trump nominated Amy Coney Barrett for confirmation to the US Supreme Court, following the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Barrett’s confirmation to the Supreme Court would cause a Republican majority of six to three. 

     Barrett was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, and went to an all-girls Catholic school. She then attended Rhodes College where she majored in English and minored in French. After graduating from Rhodes, Barrett went on to attend Notre Dame Law School. Additionally, she has been a professor at George Washington University Law School, Notre Dame Law School, and the University of Virginia Law School. On May 8th, 2017, Trump nominated Barrett to the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. 

     Barrett grew up in a Catholic family and takes her faith seriously, leading many to believe that her religious beliefs may interfere with her judicial decisions. She denies, however, that her religious background would affect the way she judges. 

      “My personal church affiliation or my religious belief would not bear on the discharge of my duties as a judge,” Barrett said. “It is never appropriate for a judge to impose that judge’s personal convictions, whether they arise from faith or anywhere else, on the law.”

     Because the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett would cause a Conservative majority of six to three on the Supreme Court, some Americans are worried that the Conservative party will be given too much political power. There have also been concerns about the effectiveness and bipartisan cooperation of the United States government if, in the upcoming presidential election, Joe Biden is elected as a Democrat and Democrats sweep the other two branches of government. 

     AP United States Government teacher Darin Maier thinks that if Barrett is elected, some recently decided cases may return to the Court for review.

     “Most everyone seems to be focusing on the rehearing of the Affordable Care Act, which is slated for November,” Maier said. “Given that the majority that supported the Affordable Care Act in 2015 is now missing two of those justices (Kennedy through retirement and Bader-Ginsberg with her passing in September), there is a real chance that this law may now be determined to be unconstitutional, though both Kavanaugh and Gorsuch have been involved with decisions where they voted in opposition to the more doctrinaire Justices Alito and Thomas.”

     Maier also believes that conflict could arise if Biden won the presidency and the Democrats additionally won a majority in the Senate as well as the House of Representatives. A Democratic Congress and Executive could clash with a conservative Supreme Court. 

     “If the Democrats win a federal election trifecta (meaning they win control of both the House and the Senate and Biden wins the presidency) and the Supreme Court nullifies the Affordable Care Act — Democrats will certainly try to craft a replacement that would satisfy the Court’s concerns,” Maier said. “Depending on how sweeping a possible SCOTUS ruling on that is, coming up with an acceptable Affordable Care Act might be tough.”

     Barrett’s confirmation is significant as it would change the political makeup of the United States government and has caused debate across the country, especially in the wake of an election year. 


Addendum: Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett was confirmed by the Senate on October 26th with a vote of 52 to 48.