Federal Courts and Nominations

RELEASE: With Barrett Confirmation Process, Court’s Legitimacy Pushed to the Precipice

WASHINGTON – Anticipating the near-party line vote later today in the Senate to confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court, Constitutional Accountability Center President Elizabeth Wydra issued the following statement:  

President Trump and Senate Majority Leader McConnell have pushed the Supreme Court’s legitimacy to the edge of a cliff.

Rather than address a pandemic that has killed more than 225,000 people in America and created a pre-existing condition for nearly nine million—and even though we just hit a record-high average national number of daily cases—Trump and McConnell have decided to jam through a Supreme Court nomination instead. They justified refusing Merrick Garland even a hearing in 2016 because he was nominated almost eight months before an election. Yet Trump and McConnell are pushing through this confirmation with just eight days left in the 2020 election—after 60 million Americans have already cast their ballots for president and Senate.

President Trump admitted that he is counting on a Justice Amy Coney Barrett to help “look at the ballots” in this election. Trump promised Supreme Court appointees who would overturn the Affordable Care Act. He promised appointees who would “automatically” overturn Roe v. Wade. These motives, unmoored from legitimate constitutional interpretation, and the unprincipled, hypocritical processes used to push through this replacement for Justice Ginsburg, are incredibly damaging to the legitimacy of the Court. As I’ve said before, the Court’s legitimacy is the product of the confidence placed by the American people in the justices that they can act as trustworthy and independent arbiters in the cases before them. The actions of Trump and McConnell—a brazen, political power grab—have cast that confidence into grave doubt.

For our part, the Constitutional Accountability Center will make arguments to a Justice Barrett—as we’ve done for more than a decade with other conservative justices—rooted in the text and history of America’s amended Constitution. We sincerely hope Barrett lives up to her claimed constitutional fidelity, rather than validating any of the blatantly political litmus tests of the President who nominated her. Instead of simply embracing select parts of the Constitution that conservatives like, Barrett’s commitment to originalism should cause her to adhere to the whole Constitution’s majestic and hard-won text guaranteeing equality, protecting voting rights, and empowering the national government to solve national problems. She will be put to that test within days of taking the bench.

 

Resources 

CAC’S LETTER OF OPPOSITION to the Nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court, Elizabeth Wydra, October 22, 2020:  https://www.theusconstitution.org/testimony/cacs-letter-of-opposition-to-the-nomination-of-judge-amy-coney-barrett-to-the-u-s-supreme-court/  

RELEASE: “Judge Barrett and Progressive Originalism,” Elizabeth Wydra, October 13, 2020: https://www.theusconstitution.org/news/release-judge-barrett-and-progressive-originalism/  

ISSUE BRIEF: “Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s Partial Constitution: A Review of Her Constitutional Jurisprudence,” David Gans, October 9, 2020:  https://www.theusconstitution.org/think_tank/issue-brief-judge-amy-coney-barretts-partial-constitution-a-review-of-her-constitutional-jurisprudence/  

ISSUE BRIEF: “Will Supreme Court Nominee Amy Coney Barrett Be A Reliable Vote for Big Business?,” Becca Damante, October 9, 2020:  https://www.theusconstitution.org/think_tank/issue-brief-will-supreme-court-nominee-amy-coney-barrett-be-a-reliable-vote-for-big-business/  

OP-ED: “Debating a Supreme Court on the brink,” The Hill, Elizabeth Wydra, September 29, 2020: https://thehill.com/opinion/judiciary/518679-debating-a-supreme-court-on-the-brink  

RELEASE: Rushed Nomination to Replace RBG Amid Election and Pandemic Puts Supreme Court’s Legitimacy at Grave Risk, Elizabeth Wydra, September 25, 2020:  https://www.theusconstitution.org/news/release-rushed-nomination-to-replace-rbg-amid-election-and-pandemic-puts-supreme-courts-legitimacy-at-grave-risk/   

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Constitutional Accountability Center is a think tank, public interest law firm, and action center dedicated to fulfilling the progressive promise of the Constitution’s text and history. Visit CAC’s website at www.theusconstitution.org 

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