Potential SCOTUS nominee Amy Coney Barrett laments politicization of federal bench

May 23, 2019

Judge Amy Coney Barrett, who could very well become the next U.S. Supreme Court justice, has had enough of judges putting their personal politics ahead of the rule of law.

Speaking at a Hillsdale College event in Washington this week, Barrett said she has had enough of judges who legislate from the bench.

No more!

“Justice should not turn on what judge you get,” the circuit court judge said on Tuesday. “If we reduce the courts to mere politics, then why do we need them? We already have politicians.”

Barrett’s remarks stand in stark contrast to those of Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., who said earlier this year that there are no “Trump” or “Obama” or “Bush” judges. He was responding to accusations from President Donald Trump insisting that the judiciary has succumbed to undisguised partisanship, and that Democratic-appointed federal judges have been working tirelessly to undermine his administration.

Blocked by the judiciary

Federal judges from across the country, many of them Obama appointees, have issued sweeping injunctions which effectively neutralize the president’s agenda — especially in areas of national security and domestic defense.

“These nationwide injunctions have frustrated presidential policy for most of the President’s term with no clear end in sight,” Attorney General William Barr said in a Tuesday speech. “One judge can, in effect, cancel the policy with the stroke of the pen.”

Vice President Mike Pence agrees. “We believe that’s really a distortion of the separation of powers and the balance of powers in our constitution. And so we’re going to be looking for a case to take the issue of national injunctions all the way to the Supreme Court,” he said.

During President Trump’s first year in office, federal judges put a halt to his policies at least 20 times by issuing federal injunctions. That’s the same number that Obama faced during his entire eight years in the White House.

Indeed, from overturning the travel ban to rescinding the president’s moratorium on transgender military service, liberal-minded judges have been extremely busy over the past two years.

Religious tests

Staying on the topic of judicial reform, Barrett argued that the confirmation process for judges should be free from religious tests. Before she was appointed to the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Senate Democrats questioned Barrett about her Catholic faith to suggest that she would work to overturn the landmark abortion case Roe v. Wade.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer recently called out Barrett from the Senate floor, suggesting that she was secretly appointed to overturn abortion laws for the GOP. Some Republicans are distancing themselves from state legislatures in places like Alabama and Georgia, which have recently passed restrictive abortion laws.

“They’re fooling people because at the same time they say they don’t want to eliminate Roe or curtail Roe, they vote for judges who would do just that,” the Senate minority leader said.

Barrett, however, believes that a judge’s religious beliefs should not taint their legal opinions. Like the late Justice Antonin Scalia, she is an originalist who believes that modern-day judges must consider what the Framers were thinking when they drafted the Constitution centuries ago.

“You’re not there to win a popularity contest,” Barrett said of being a judge.


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Benjamin Baird

Benjamin Baird is a senior staff writer for the Conservative Institute. He is a veteran infantryman of Iraq and Afghanistan with over 1000 days in combat and holds a degree in Middle Eastern studies from the American Military University. Ben is Writing Fellow at the Middle East Forum and has written for dozens of conservative publications, including The Daily Caller, American Spectator, American Thinker, New English Review and Jewish News Syndicate.