President Donald Trump has named Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, his third appointment to the nation’s highest tribunal. The new justice filled the vacancy left by the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg who died Sept. 28, the longest serving member of the court, having been appointed in 1998 by President Bill Clinton.
The new jurist at age 48 is one of the youngest justices to be named to the high court. Her appointment climaxed a bitter fight against by Democrats in the Senate confirmation hearing. This came despite her strong credentials, having served as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit from 2017 to 2020. She also was a professor of law at Notre Dame, her alma mater.
Democrats questioned her impartiality because of her Catholic faith and whether she would follow judicial precedents in favor of Roe v. Wade, the litmus test of Democrats and other liberal groups. She testified at confirmation hearings that she would follow established precedents but said it was not appropriate to indicate how she would vote on any issue. Democrats angrily protested her appointment and boycotted her Senate confirmation hearings. Senate minority leader Democrat Chuck Schumer called Barrett’s confirmation “a sordid chapter in America’s history, and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said, “This is a very sad day for our country.”
Georgia’s two U.S. senators, David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, both Republicans, predictably praised the president’s appointing Barrett to the Supreme Court, as did most of the congressional delegation. Republicans consider the new justice highly qualified and applaud her conservative views. They expect she will be a strong conservative voice on the high court for years to come while Democrats hope to “pack the court” with liberals if they win a Senate majority in the Nov. 3 elections. It’s all-out political war between the parties in what is one of the most divided times in our country’s history.
It’s clear that what’s needed is a return to the political and social comity that was the rule years ago as exemplified by the friendship between members of opposing parties. It’s not clear that the average citizen shares the enmity of their political leaders and perhaps that holds the key to better relationships in the future. For the sake of our country’s political future, we fervently hope so.