After President Donald Trump nominated Judge Amy Coney Barrett, who currently sits on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court, I said I believed Judge Barrett would make an excellent justice that would serve our country and Constitution well.
Since then, I’ve continued to be truly impressed by Judge Barrett, and after meeting with her this past week, I am proud to reaffirm my position and give her my full support.
During our meeting, I enjoyed hearing from her directly about her judicial philosophy – a careful, impartial, and grounded approach to the law that is exactly what we need on the nation’s highest court.
You see, Judge Barrett takes the position that we should read the Constitution and our other laws for what they say and not for what anyone wishes they said, recognizing the Court’s place as an independent body with a separate constitutional function instead of the super-legislature some would desire.
If more of our public officials followed such an idea, and accepted the Constitution’s limits for what they are, we would be extraordinarily better off as a society. Before you say, “But what about…,” realize this does not mean we just turn a blind eye to the need for change. The Founders recognized such a reality when they created the ability to amend the Constitution and pass laws in keeping with its boundaries.
Today’s hyper-polarization is one of the prices we pay for hyper-politicization, which happens when we decide that the federal government has a say over each and every aspect of our life, regardless of whether or not the Constitution gives it power to act.
Hyper-politicization, and the accompanying mountains of legislation it creates, subjects our rights and liberties to the whims of the people or party in charge – and the power of who gets access to them – instead of holding politicians to a fixed standard, where people know what to expect, and all are treated equally and can update the system (or enforce it properly) if they are not.
Respecting the Constitution would force us to build consensus and work together to convince enough Americans of our cause to achieve the change we want, whether through constitutional laws or outright amendments. In other words, we would have to talk to each other instead of at each other.
It would also draw more attention to and increase accountability from our local and state governments, where authority is broader, and we can most immediately implement reforms.
Testifying before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, Randall Noel, who chairs the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary, stated, “The Standing Committee concluded that Judge Barrett’s integrity, judicial temperament, [and] professional competence met the very high standards for appointment to our Supreme Court. Our rating of ‘Well Qualified’ reflects the consensus of her peers that know her best.”
Judge Barrett memorably demonstrated the tremendous depth of her judicial knowledge and preparation for the job when she was asked to show the notes she was using to navigate her confirmation hearing. In response, she held up a simple notepad that was blank except for the Senate letterhead.
If we take a step back from the politically charged public debate and objectively consider the nominee, it’s clear Judge Amy Coney Barrett will be a justice Kentuckians will be proud of.
I know I will be proud to cast my vote for her.