As a federal judge and as a legal scholar, Barrett has a track record as a social conservative who stands in staunch opposition to many liberal causes and policies that have been embraced by Hollywood heavyweights, such as abortion, education, health care and immigration policy.
Barrett at present serves as a federal judge on the Seventh Circuit — serving Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin — to which she was nominated by Trump in 2017. She spent 15 years as a law professor at the University of Notre Dame. Earlier in her career she clerked for arch-conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia in 1998 and 1999.
In a Rose Garden ceremony, Trump introduced Barrett as “a woman of unparalleled achievement, towering intellect, sterling credentials and unyielding loyalty to the Constitution.” He sought to add to the urgency of the appointment for conservatives by declaring that Barrett has the chance to “decide the survival of our second amendment, our religious liberty, our public safety and so much more.”
In the midst of the coronavirus, most of the crowd that gathered for the event were not wearing masks, including first lady Melania Trump after she sat down in the front row amid Barrett’s seven young children. Also present was Maureen Scalia, widow of the justice who died in 2016.
Trump’s rush to confirm a Supreme Court nominee before the Nov. 3 election already has Hollywood on edge. The move is in direct defiance of Ginsburg’s last wish that her successor not be named until the election determines the next occupant of the Oval Office.
Barrett introduced herself by telling the crowd, “I love the United States and I love the United States’ Constitution.”
In her brief remarks, Barrett paid tribute to Ginsburg, who died Sept. 18 at the age of 87 after 27 years on the court. But commentators noted that Barrett’s record suggests that she would be far removed in her interpretation of civil rights laws compared to the pioneering justice that she is poised to replace.
Barrett appeared to address concerns that her rulings might be politically motivated by asserting that judges have an obligation to be “resolute in setting aside any policy views they might hold.” She also vowed to ensure that she would help ensure “equal rights to poor and rich” and “faithfully and impartially discharge my duties under the U.S. Constitution.”
The Republican-controlled Senate is targeting Oct. 12 as the start date for Barrett’s confirmation hearings. The prospect of Barrett ensuring that the nation’s high court has a strong conservative majority for potentially decades to come has industry insiders on edge.
“Pod Save America” co-host Jon Favreau pointed to the potential for Barrett to cast the decisive blow to the Affordable Care Act, which is coming before the court in November after years of partisan battles.
Author and former “Jimmy Kimmel Live” writer Bess Kalb highlighted concerns about Barrett pulling the court rightward on social issues influenced by religious beliefs.
Comedy scribe Bryan Behar lamented the potential for Barrett, 48, to have a long tenure on the high court.
Sirius XM host John Fugelsang decried Trump’s bid to rush through Barrett’s confirmation hearings with only weeks to go before the presidential election.