October 25, 2020

Amy Coney Barretts fellow faculty members at the University of Notre Dame called on her to delay her nomination until after the election

  • A group of faculty members at the University of Notre have called on Judge Amy Coney Barrett, President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, to for “halt” her nomination till after the November election. 
  • Barrett’s co-workers said while her confirmation is assured, it comes at a polarized time in the country. 
  • Confirmation hearings began this week in the Senate. 
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Faculty members at the University of Notre Dame called on judge Amy Coney Barrett, Judge Amy Coney Barrett, President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, to “halt” her nomination till after the November election, in an open letter

“We congratulate you on your nomination to the United States Supreme Court. An appointment to the Court is the crowning achievement of a legal career and speaks to the commitments you have made throughout your life. And while we are not pundits, from what we read your confirmation is all but assured,” the letter read.

“That is why it is vital that you issue a public statement calling for a halt to your nomination process until after the November presidential election,” the letter continued.

Barrett was nominated by Trump to fill the seat of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg who died last month. 

After Ginsburg’s death, Congressional Democrats denounced the idea of nominating and confirming a new justice until after the November elections, arguing that the seat should remain empty until a new president is elected.

Following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in February 2016, Senate Republicans refused to hold hearings for a nominee chosen by then-President Barack Obama arguing it was too late for him to push a nominee through a polarized Senate. 

Following Scalia’s death, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said: “The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new President.”

Senate Minority Chuck Schumer issued the same statement following Ginsburg’s death. 

Confirmation hearings for Barrett began this week.

In their letter, Barrett’s co-workers gave three reasons for why she should halt the nomination, including arguing that the election is already underway and that voters should decide who gets nominated on to the court. 

“The rushed nature of your nomination process, which you certainly recognize as an exercise in raw power politics, may effectively deprive the American people of a voice in selecting the next Supreme Court justice,” the letter stated.

“You are not, of course, responsible for the anti-democratic machinations driving your nomination. Nor are you complicit in the Republican hypocrisy of fast-tracking your nomination weeks before a presidential election when many of the same senators refused to grant Merrick Garland so much as a hearing a full year before the last election. However, you can refuse to be party to such maneuvers.”

The group also told Barrett to honor Ginsburg’s legacy by not going against her wishes to have her seat remain open until the next president is elected. 

Finally, they argued that her confirmation would further polarize an already divide nation. 

“Our politics are consumed by polarization, mistrust, and fevered conspiracy theories. Our country is shaken by the pandemic and economic suffering. There is violence in the streets of American cities. The politics of your nomination, as you surely understand, will further inflame our civic wounds, undermine confidence in the court, and deepen the divide among ordinary citizens,” the letter said. 

Barrett has come under fire for her views on the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. Trump has repeatedly promised to nominate a judge who would strike down the act, which has afforded millions of Americans health insurance and added benefits. 

In 2017, Barrett was critical of Chief Justice John Roberts’ reasoning to uphold the Affordable Care Act.

“Chief Justice Roberts pushed the Affordable Care Act beyond its plausible meaning to save the statute,” Barrett wrote then. “He construed the penalty imposed on those without health insurance as a tax, which permitted him to sustain the statute as a valid exercise of the taxing power; had he treated the payment as the statute did — as a penalty — he would have had to invalidate the statute as lying beyond Congress’s commerce power.”

The group acknowledged that if Democratic Presidential nominee Joe Biden were to be elected, Barrett would most likely not be confirmed. 

“That would be painful, surely. Yet there is much to be gained in risking your seat. You would earn the respect of fair-minded people everywhere. You would provide a model of civic selflessness. And you might well inspire Americans of different beliefs toward a renewed commitment to the common good,” the group said in the letter.