On Sept. 18, 2020, the world dimmed ever so slightly. The flame of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg ceased to blaze. Justice Ginsberg was a beacon of light for American law, social justice and equality under the law. Her decisions on gay marriage, abortion and gender discrimination have paved the way towards a more enlightened society.
With the fall of such a great figure, another must step up to the occasion. On Saturday, Sept. 26, President Trump rightfully respected the gender diversity of the highest court and nominated a woman, Amy Coney Barrett to fill the seat on the Supreme Court.
To begin highlighting few achievements and attributes, Barrett has had a lengthy career in academia. “She earned her J.D., summa cum laude, from Notre Dame, where she was a Kiley Fellow, earned the Hoynes Prize, the Law School’s highest honor, as the number one student in her class, and served as executive editor of the Notre Dame Law Review,” according to Notre Dame.
Continuing her trend of exceptionalism, Barrett proceeded to shape the future law students of America, working in academia for over 15 years. While at Notre Dame, she was selected as “Distinguished professor of the year” three times.
After earning her J.D., Barrett quickly transitioned to becoming a great influencer within American law. “After graduating from law school, Judge Barrett clerked for D.C. Circuit Judge Laurence Silberman and for Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia,” according to the White House.
Her reputation among fellow law professors has also been shown to be particularly good. For example, a recent instance, “In 2017, a bipartisan group of law professors – including professors from Harvard and Stanford and other law schools around the country – urged the Senate Judiciary Committee to confirm Judge Barrett to the Seventh Circuit, describing her work as “rigorous, fair-minded, respectful, and constructive,” according to the White House.
Perhaps her most important attribute is something that she shares with many fellow Americans: her parenthood. Barrett is a mother to seven children. Many Americans know how challenging yet rewarding raising a child can be. Barrett is one among many and surely can empathize with the mothers of America.
Critics worry Judge Barrett's religious views may interfere with politics and if she will overrule Roe v. Wade: a fundamental piece of law for abortion rights. However, looking deeper it is clear that this is just speculation.
In a 2013 lecture on the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade she states, “I think it is very unlikely at this point that the court is going to overturn (Roe v. Wade). … The fundamental element, that the woman has a right to choose abortion, will probably stand,” according to AP News. In legal terms, this likely means that she believes this is “good law,” and should stand.
In terms of her being a Catholic, during her confirmation hearing for the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, she states, “Never. It’s never appropriate for a judge to impose that judge’s personal convictions, whether they derive from faith or anywhere else on the law.”
The transition will of course be bittersweet. With the loss of a giant influencer, we see potential others stepping up to the plate. Although we are in the midst of an extreme divide, we must not forget to look past the fog of war and see the beauty in humanity. Many people are genuinely working hard to make the world a better place for all of us, although at times it may seem otherwise.