4 Reasons Trump Should Nominate Amy Barrett

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If not for the Supreme Court, I doubt Donald Trump would be president today.  First, the loss of a giant of American jurisprudence, Justice Antonin Scalia, crystalized for many Americans (particularly religious conservatives) otherwise leery of a Trump presidency the high stakes of their 2016 vote.  Second, then-candidate Trump very smartly compiled a list of qualified constitutionalist legal minds and pledged to nominate Supreme Court justices from that list.  The first such promise kept was Neil Gorsuch, who already is proving to be a reliable conservative vote on the court.

With the retirement of Anthony Kennedy, who disappointed conservatives on many key votes, we see an opportunity to create a lasting legacy from our 2016 triumph.  While there are many qualified candidates, media sources report the pick is down to two candidates: federal judges Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett. 

I urge the president to select Judge Barrett for four reasons:

  1. BIOGRAPHY -- Barrett’s story almost seems too incredible to believe. Her professional credentials include clerking for the Supreme Court, working for a prestigious private law firm, and a 15-year tenure as a respected scholar teaching at the University of Notre Dame Law School.  While amassing this superb resume, she also cares for her brood of seven children.  It would be almost comical to watch liberals try to assail such a smart, likable, and impressive professional and personal superwoman.  In both optics and substance, Barrett is the Democrats’ worst nightmare.
  2. RECORD -- Barrett’s professional body of work reveals a stellar legal mind wedded to the principles of originalism and preservation of the textual integrity of our Constitution. Her record strongly suggests she will resist the trend of recent decades toward a court that legislates from the bench and instead will return our country to a badly needed federalism through judicial restraint.  For example, regarding the legal doctrine of stare decisis, she wrote that in overturning precedent “a new majority cannot simply impose its vision only with votes” but “must defend its approach to the Constitution.”  Eminent Princeton scholar Robert George in a tweet called Judge Barrett “a super smart female justice who’s guided by the constitutional text, its logic, structure, and original public meaning.”
  3. POLITICS -- President’s Trump’s recent momentum – from court victories to rising poll numbers to a roaring economy – is undeniable. Now is the time to press forward with an unorthodox and, perhaps, controversial pick for the court.  Barrett was confirmed for the federal bench just nine months ago with approval from every Republican (even the Trump-hating ones) and several Democratic senators from very pro-Trump states such as Indiana’s Joe Donnelly and West Virginia’s Joe Manchin, who will face voters this November in tough races.  Would they dare to reverse themselves on such an impressive female candidate in a mere matter of months?
  4. RELIGIOUS LIBERTY -- Barrett’s 2017 confirmation hearing revealed some of the worst instincts of the Democratic Party and its visceral disdain for Americans who subscribe to traditional values and faiths. Because Barrett and her family take their Catholicism seriously, Sen. Diane Feinstein dared to tell her “the dogma lives loudly within you, and that’s a concern.”  Similar sentiments were voiced by the ostensibly Catholic Sen. Dick Durbin.  Such questions represent, by the way, an unconstitutional religious litmus test.  But even more offensively, high-ranking public servants like Feinstein and Durbin –whose faiths were once subject to discrimination in American public life – should be ashamed of such wanton prejudice.  Thankfully, Barrett persevered in those hearings and responded with logic and poise, proving she can handle the inevitable onslaught the left will unleash should she be nominated.  

To be sure, Judge Barrett does not represent a conventional pick compared to recent nominees.  Her federal bench experience is very brief.  But many highly esteemed justices had no bench experience at all before serving on the high court.  Louis Brandeis, Felix Frankfurter and William Rehnquist are just three examples.  In addition, Trump is one president unafraid to buck convention and pursue policies and appointments that might make Beltway barristers and bloviators squirm.  One such move should be nominating Amy Coney Barrett.

Steve Cortes is a contributor to RealClearPolitics and a CNN  political commentator. His Twitter handle is @CortesSteve.

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