In a reality-show style “reveal,” Donald Trump is scheduled to take to the airwaves during prime time on Monday night, at 9 p.m. Eastern, ABC News reports, to announce his pick to fill the United States Supreme Court seat that will be vacated by retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy.
Though The Inquisitr reported earlier on three of Trump’s likely favorites, a new leading contender has emerged over the past week — Appeals Court Judge and former Notre Dame University law school professor Amy Coney Barrett, who was approved as Trump’s nominee to the Seventh Circuit Court last year with the votes of all Senate Republicans as well as three Democrats — Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and 2016 Vice-Presidential nominee Tim Kaine of Virginia, according to USA Today.
But like many of Trump’s potential Supreme Court picks, Barrett appears to harbor extreme views on a number of issues that have become established aspects of law, as well as life, in the United States over recent decades — including the racial integration of public schools, and Social Security.
Barrett, following the late Justice Antonin Scalia and Trump’s first SCOTUS appointee Neil Gorsuch, is a proponent of “originalism,” the judicial philosophy holding “that judges should attempt to interpret the words of the Constitution as they were understood at the time they were written,” according to a Washington Post explanation. The 46-year-old Barrett served as a clerk for Scalia in 1998 and 1999.
But critics say that the framers of the Constitution never intended for the words that were ratified in 1788 — or in amendments ratified later — to be subject to rigid and unchanging interpretations as conditions change over time. The more popular judicial philosophy known as “loose contructionism” or non-originalism, says that interpretation of the Constitution should fit the times and not be restricted to whatever the document’s words were taken to mean 230 years ago, as a University of Michigan explanation stated.
Nonetheless, “originalists” often feel justified in ignoring well-established legal precedents to make legal decisions based on their beliefs about what the Constitution was supposedly intended to mean decades or centuries in the past. In 2013, Barrett wrote that she agrees with the view that “a justice’s duty is to the Constitution and that it is thus more legitimate for her to enforce her best understanding of the Constitution rather than a precedent she thinks clearly in conflict with it,” as quoted by The Indianapolis Star.
In fact, in an article for The Journal of Constitutional Law, Barrett wrote that “originalism” requires that one of the most important landmark SCOTUS precedents, the 1954 Brown vs. Board of Education decision, must be overturned.
It was in Brown, in a unanimous opinion written by Chief Justice Earl Warren, that the Supreme Court ruled that racial segregation of public schools is unconstitutional, even when that segregation is said to be “separate but equal,” because inevitably conditions in public schools for black students were inferior to those offered to whites. That, the court held, violated the Equal Protection clause of the 14th amendment, which was ratified in 1868, according to History.com.
But the philosophy of originalism would not stop at abolishing school integration, according to Coney’s article, as Bloomberg News legal reporter Sahil Kapur reported.
“Adherence to originalism arguably requires, for example, the dismantling of the administrative state, the invalidation of paper money, and the reversal of Brown v. Board of Education,” Barrett wrote. “The administrative state” includes the Social Security Administration, she said in the article.
But whether Barrett would rule to get rid of integrated schools, Social Security and even paper money remains unclear. She also said in the article that originalist justices would simply avoid making such rulings because SCOTUS, she claimed, would never agree to hear cases challenging their validity.
On the other hand, in the article, Barrett refers to the 14th Amendment, which granted U.S. citizenship to former slaves, as well as “equal protection of the laws” for all citizens regardless of race or previously enslaved status (per History.com) as “possibly illegitimate.”