A 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge, Notre Dame Law School graduate and Justice Scalia’s former law clerk, U.S. Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett is posed to become the next U.S. Supreme Court Justice replacing recently departed Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Republicans have indicated a determination to have Judge Barrett approved by October 31, 2020 and sitting on the bench by the presidential election. If accomplished, this will be the fastest U.S. Supreme Court appointment since Justice Sandra Day O’Connor in 1981.
Judge Barrett identifies as an originalist in Constitutional interpretation, identifying with Justice Scalia’s philosophy. She believes that the U.S. Constitution is to be given the interpretation that it had when it became law and was ratified. Judges are not policy makers, according to Judge Barrett. That is the function of Congress when it comes to statutes and the people when it comes to the U.S. Constitution through constitutional amendment.
Judge Barrett is the author of Doe v. Purdue University, 928 F.3d 652 (7th Cir. 2019), a unanimous decision reinstating a Title IX lawsuit brought by a Purdue University student after the University found him guilty of sexual assault. Writing for the court, Judge Barrett indicated that the University had denied Doe due process when it adopted the victim’s story without interviewing her and prior to hearing from either the victim or Doe. The University also denied Doe the ability to present evidence in his defense. As a result of the guilty finding, Doe was suspended from Purdue for a year and expelled from ROTC, affecting his ability to pursue his chosen career in the Navy. Writing for the Court, Judge Barrett stated that the University’s conducted violated Doe’s liberty interest in pursuing his occupation in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment. She further wrote that the University violated Doe’s Title IX rights “by imposing punishment infected by sex bias.”
In a Second Amendment case, Kanter v. Barr, 919 f.3d 437 (7th Cir. 2019), the 7th Circuit upheld the constitutionality of a state law prohibiting nonviolent felons from possessing firearms. There, plaintiff was convicted of mail fraud, which, under the state law, prohibited him from possessing a firearm. Disagreeing, Judge Barrett’s dissent stated that, while the government has a legitimate interest in denying gun access to violent criminals, applying that law to nonviolent criminals was not substantially related to an important governmental interest. She indicated that there was no evidence suggesting that prohibiting nonviolent felons from gun access promotes the state’s legitimate interest in protecting the public from gun violence. Accordingly, such an application violates the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Writing for the 7th Circuit in a Fourth Amendment illegal search and seizure case, United States v. Watson, 900 F.3d 892 (7th Cir. 2018), the Court overturned the defendant’s conviction of possession of a firearm while under felony conviction. Judge Barrett wrote that the police lacked probable cause to search the defendant’s vehicle when responding to a citizens call that people were “playing with guns” in a parking lot. She pointed out that responding to a concerned citizen’s call where no crime was alleged did not allow the police to immediately seize the people involved upon arrival and search the vehicle incident to arrest. To do so was a Fourth Amendment violation.
After serving her judicial clerkships, Ms. Barrett worked for a D.C. law firm where she worked on Bush v. Gore. Thereafter, she taught at George Washington University Law School and then returned to Notre Dame University Law School where she taught constitutional law, federal courts and statutory interpretation.
Story distilled from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amy_Coney_Barrett and authorities cited therein.