President Donald Trump plans to nominate Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court on Saturday. The judge is a favorite of social conservatives who, if confirmed, will be the youngest justice on the court and could reshape the nation’s laws for decades.
CNN, CBS and PBS reported Barrett as Trump’s pick on Friday. Barrett was widely seen as the front-runner to fill the seat that opened when Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died on Sept. 18, and she was on the short list to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy in 2018. That seat ultimately went to now-Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
Barrett, 48, has been a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit since 2017. She taught for 15 years at Notre Dame Law School in Indiana, and before that, clerked for the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.
Civil and human rights groups strongly opposed Barrett’s nomination to her current court seat over her views on a range of issues.
During her 2017 Senate confirmation, 17 women’s rights groups wrote to committee members urging them to oppose Barrett for her record of having “expressly opposed reproductive and women’s rights.” They cited a 2003 article by Barrett in which she refers to Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court decision ensuring women’s access to abortion, as an “erroneous decision.” Their letter also notes that Barrett signed a public “statement of protest” against the Affordable Care Act’s birth control benefit, referring to the policy as an “assault on religious liberty.”
More than two dozen LGBTQ rights groups raised concerns about Barrett wavering on the idea of landmark LGBTQ rights decisions qualifying as “superprecedents” ― decisions so important they should not be overturned. They also note she took a speaking fee from the Alliance Defending Freedom, a nonprofit that has defended forced sterilization for transgender people and been dubbed a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Barrett responded by saying she didn’t know Alliance Defending Freedom is the largest anti-LGBTQ legal advocacy group in the nation. As for abortion rights, she said her personal views on the precedent set by Roe v. Wade would not affect her decisions as a federal judge.
Barrett has been tied to a small Christian group called People of Praise that until recently referred to its female leaders as “handmaids” ― evoking comparisons to Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel “The Handmaid’s Tale.” People of Praise describes itself as a “charismatic” Christian community, referring to a form of Christianity that believes that supernatural occurrences ― such as prophecy, miraculous healing and speaking in tongues ― can occur in people’s daily lives through the work of the Holy Spirit.
Like so many of Trump’s nominees to lifetime federal court seats, Barrett is a member of the Federalist Society, a conservative legal organization that has essentially served as a pipeline for many of the president’s court picks. Both of Trump’s other Supreme Court picks, Neil Gorsuch and Kavanaugh, are members of the group.
There’s a clear pattern to these nominees, too: They are young, they are ideological, and they have records of being hostile toward abortion rights, LGBTQ rights and voting rights.