SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Amy Coney Barrett appears to be the leading candidate to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg after meeting with President Trump earlier this week. The president said he will make an announcement about his choice on Saturday.
So who is Barrett? News 8 talked to three of Barrett’s fellow law professors from Notre Dame, and they all said that they think she would be the best person for this Supreme Court seat.
“She is brilliant, absolutely brilliant. In addition to her legal intelligence, which would make her an unbelievable selection for the court, she is also one of the warmest open-minded people that anybody could meet,” said Daniel Kelly, a professor of law at Notre Dame.
So far, Barrett is the only potential pick President Trump has interviewed. If chosen it could mean another Republican-appointed justice on the Supreme Court. There are already five, so this would far outnumber the current three Democratic appointees.
Barrett’s colleagues said judges must interpret the law without political bias and she would do that. They said she has the support of former students, professors and co-clerks.
“I think everyone should feel better if Amy Barrett is on the US Supreme Court because you will never find someone who is more fair-minded, more honest, more disciplined, more just than Amy Barrett,” said Carter Snead, a professor of law at Notre Dame and the director of the Center of Ethics and Cutler at Notre Dame.
“She is so sincere and direct and transparent. You know what you are getting with her. There aren’t any hidden agendas or playing games, she is honest about what she thinks about the law,” said Pablo Carozza, a professor of law at Notre Dame and the director of the Kellogg Institute for International Studies.
For some background, Barrett began her career as a law clerk for the late Justice Antonin Scalia. She went on to become a law professor at her alma mater, Notre Dame.
Fellow law professors said her education diversifies her from the rest of the court, who are mostly Harvard and Yale-educated judges.
“Her philosophy of the judiciary and of what judging requires does not permit a person to integrate and import their own personal views or their own politics into her work as a judge and that should give everybody comfort,” said professor Snead.
However, she has been criticized. Back in 2012, CNN reported that Barrett signed onto a public letter protesting that abortion and contraception coverage of the Affordable Care Act were “an assault on religious liberty.”
Barrett’s Catholic faith was also a major focal point during her 2017 confirmation hearing for the Seventh Circuit Appeals Court. However, her colleagues say that her religious beliefs shouldn’t be a consideration.
“In the United States, we don’t have a religious test for any kind of office, right? And, so the fact people would try to make a big issue out of this is completely shameful and should be condemned,” said Professor Kelly.
Now that Senator Mitt Romney has said he is on board with moving ahead with a vote, before the election, it all but ensures any nominee put forward will be confirmed.
“If it were to go forward, if it does, Amy is the best person I could imagine in to be nominated and so if there is going to be a process. I am very happy she is in the mix for it and hope it ends up being her,” said Professor Carozza.