After Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away on September 18th, the conversation quickly turned from mourning her remarkable life to speculating on who would fill her seat. Well, we finally have an answer, and it’s what many suspected in the midst of a hotly contested election. 

On Saturday, after days of rumors, Trump officially confirmed that he has nominated Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. In his speech, he referenced Ginsburg as a strong jurist whose legacy will be felt for generations. 

In his announcement, Trump said, “It is my honor to nominate one of our nation’s most gifted and brilliant legal minds to the Supreme Court.” He also referenced her “unyielding loyalty” to the Constitution and her legal background. 

“You are imminently qualified,” Trump told her at one point, after referencing the letters of support her former clerks and coworkers had written after her 2017 nomination. 

Trump and Barrett were greeted in the Rose Garden with applause as her family joined them. This is Trump’s third Supreme Court nomination in less than four years. 

Barrett, in accepting the nomination, thanked the president and said that she was “deeply honored by the confidence” he had placed in her. 

“I love the United States, and I love the United States Constitution. I am truly humbled by the prospect of serving on the Supreme Court. Should I be confirmed, I will be mindful of those who came before me,” Barrett said, before talking about Ginsburg, who “smashed glass ceilings” and “won the admiration of women across the country, and indeed all over the world.” 

“She was a woman of enormous talent and consequence,” Barrett said, before referencing Ginsburg’s well-documented friendship with Justice Scalia, bridging political divides. 

When talking about her own views on the law, she referenced Scalia and her dedication to the Constitution.  She thanked her husband for being her partner in raising her children and being the “better cook” which likely reminded viewers of Ginsburg’s own relationship to her husband–a fellow lawyer who also supported her endlessly and kept the kitchen running. 

Here’s what you need to know about Barrett, and her confirmation fight ahead. 

Her background & education

Barrett, born in Louisiana to a large family, studied at Rhodes College and then Notre Dame Law School–the same law school she would go on to become a professor at, teaching constitutional law, among other things. She clerked for Scalia on the Supreme Court in the late 1990s, worked as a lawyer in DC, and taught for many years at law schools in Indiana and around the country. 

She was a member of Phi Betta Kappa and graduated first in her class in law school. 

Per SCOTUSblog, “During her 15 years as a full-time law professor, Barrett’s academic scholarship was prolific.” 

She is married to Jesse Barrett, also a  lawyer, and is a mother of seven, including two adopted children and a child with Down syndrome.  Barrett is 48 years old and therefore could potential serve on the court for 40+ years. 

If appointed, Barrett will be the first mother of school-aged children to sit on the Supreme Court. 

Her judicial views & major cases

Currently, Barrett sits on the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Seventh District, a position which she has held since Trump appointed her in 2017. She was included on the list of potential SCOTUS nominees that Trump pulled from when he nominated now Justice Brett Kavanaugh. She’s definitely a Constitutionalist, an originalist, and leans conservative. She’s heard and written decisions in cases involving Title IX, the 4th Amendment, the 2nd Amendment, immigration, and more. 

According to New York Times reporting, sources close to Trump hold him she would be a “female Scalia.” In his announcement, Trump referenced her clerkship with Scalia and noted that Scalia’s wife Maureen was in the audience there with them. 

In the case Kanter v Burr, a case related to gun rights for people convicted of felonies, Barrett dissented from the majority and said that it was risky to let the government limit gun rights for all felonies regardless of risk and that the 2nd Amendment “confers an individual right, intimately connected with the natural right of self-defense and not limited to civic participation.”

On the Court of Appeals, she has come toe-to-toe with two cases dealing with abortion: one related to burying fetal remains, and one related to abortion on the basis of race, sex, or disability. According to the ABA Journal, in both cases, “Barrett joined dissenters who would have granted rehearings en banc after three-judge panels found fault with restrictive Indiana abortion laws.”

One of those dissents included the line, ““Using abortion to promote eugenic goals is morally and prudentially debatable.” 

Her religion 

I bring up Barrett’s religion because it is clearly important to her, and because the media cannot stop talking about it. Barrett is Catholic. How that impacts her legal views depend on how you view her rulings, I would suspect. 

As you’ll see in the next section, Barrett’s religion and past statements on Catholicism and the law were brought up in 2017, but she won that confirmation battle, so it’s possible she will win the next one as well–though the stakes are much higher. 

There have already been several false claims about Barrett’s statements on religion and cultural issues that have been fact-checked–you can find them here

Her religion is what makes many on the left say she will reverse Roe v Wade or limit women’s rights. In a 2013 article, Barrett said that she believes life begins at conception, and she signed a letter from the Catholic church that said that marriage was between one man and one woman, but neither are legal precedents to be leaned up. They will likely be brought up extensively at her confirmation hearing though. 

You should fully expect her to be asked directly whether she would overturn Roe v Wade during the confirmation process, but like with pretty much every nominee ever, she’ll say she cannot say without a case before her, etc. 

The last confirmation battle she fought was contentious

You can view a bit of her confirmation battle in 2017 here, but it’s important to note that while it was contentious, Barrett was ultimately confirmed 55-43. Three Democratic senators voted for her, and two did not vote at all. 

I found it interesting to read her written responses to some of the Senators questions, which you can find here

Some interesting ones came from Sen. Dianne Feinstein. When asked how she would treat LGBTQ litigants impartially, Barrett said, “If confirmed, I will treat all litigants impartially and in accordance with my oath to “administer justice without respect to persons, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich,” and “faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent upon me as a judge under the Constitution and laws of the United States.” She also declined, at the time, to “opine” on Trump’s pardon of Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio.


A law school article she wrote–Catholic Judges in Capital Cases--came up a lot, so you should definitely give it a read. There’s no way it doesn’t come up again, especially since so much of the media coverage of her has been focused on her religion and its intersection with the law. 

Barrett has since said that her views have “broadened” beyond those expressed in the article from the late 90s and said explicitly in 2017 that it was never permissible for  justices to “follow their personal convictions in the decision of a case, rather than what the law requires.”

Another topic that came up frequently was a 2013 article in which she wrote about “superprecendents” of the Supreme Court that could not be overturned (Brown v Board was one of them) but the list did not include Roe v Wade. That made some think she would overturn it, but Barrett has not explicitly said so at any time. 

What’s next—the road to the Supreme Court

Trump announced that he wants to confirm Barrett before election day–in just over a month. It wouldn’t be the fastest confirmation ever, but it would be pretty speedy compared to more recent confirmation processes. 

The Senate Republicans, who are in control and lead by Mitch McConnell, have indicated that they plan to move full-steam ahead. Only two Republicans–Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski–have indicated reticence to hold confirmation processes so close to the election, but the Republicans could lose up to 4 votes and still confirm her–a 50/50 split would allow Vice President Mike Pence to make the final call, and we know how that will go. 

A confirmation hearing for Barrett leading up to this election would be historic. About a third of the Senate is up for election–so they’ll be balancing their time on the trail with their time in Washington as well as trying to figure out which way to play this confirmation process to best suit their constituents and their political mechanizations. Democrats, even those who voted for Barrett or were kind to her in 2017, may come out with bared teeth in an attempt to stay in line with the Democrats’ insistence that they will not confirm anyone so close to an election. 

A Politico Playbook report stated that the Senate is expected to hold confirmation hearings the week of October 12th. 

Get your CONFIRM AMY CONEY BARRETT shirt from Future Female Leaders today!

Aryssa D
FFL Cabinet Member