US President Donald Trump on Saturday formalized his desire to see Justice Amy Coney Barrett replace Ruth Ginsburg at the United States Supreme Court. This woman, mother of a large family, ticks all the boxes in the eyes of the American religious right. But his ultra-religious profile could also serve as a scarecrow for the moderate electorate, six weeks before the presidential election.
Donald Trump has made his choice. The US President confirmed on Saturday September 26 his wish to see Amy Coney Barrett succeed Ruth Ginsburg at the Supreme Court of the United States, after her death on September 18. She had been the first candidate for this post to be received by the President in the White House.
“I reserve it for [remplacer] Ruth Ginsburg. “This is what US President Donald Trump told his advisers about the conservative judge in 2018, the last time a Supreme Court position was vacated. And when Donald Trump has something in mind, usually it does.
“Dogmatism lives in you deeply”
For the more conservative wing of the Republican Party, the possible arrival of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court would be the crowning achievement of the long work of reshaping the judiciary under the Trump era. This 48-year-old woman ticks all the boxes of the right wing of the Conservatives.
His legal CV is unassailable. She is one of the most respected graduates of the prestigious Notre Dame University of Law, Indiana, where she has been named “teacher of the year” three times since 2014. Prior to that, she had worked for some some of the country’s most famous conservative jurists and judges, such as Antonin Scalia, who was the dean of the US Supreme Court.
Since joining the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals (with jurisdiction over Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin) in 2017, she has also garnered the respect of her peers. They recognize in him his perfect mastery of the mysteries of law and his ability to remain in the legal nails without denying anything, however, of his deep religious and conservative convictions, recalls the ScotusBlog, a site covering news from the US Supreme Court.
But beyond her impeccable legal pedigree, it is above all Amy Coney Barrett, the fervent Catholic, that the ultrareligious American circles want to see succeed Ruth Ginsburg. She has become the darling of this very important electorate in the eyes of Donald Trump.
Her political baptism as a muse of the religious right dates back to 2017, during her hearing for the post of appeal judge, which she still occupies. Democrats, who did not want her because of her too anti-abortion profile, then criticized her violently, blaming her for “a personal story suggesting that she would make her religious beliefs prevail over everything else”. California senator Diane Feinstein even added: “Dogmatism [religieux] lives in you deeply “.
A statement which made Amy Coney Barrett, for the most religious Americans, the victim par excellence of the “anti-religious bigotry” of the American liberals. T-shirts and mugs adorned with this phrase had even been made and sold, reports the New York Times.
It must be said that she has her faith pegged to the body. The one who, with her husband, raises seven children, including two adopted in Haiti, carries high the family values so dear to this segment of the population. She is actively involved in community life in her hometown of South Bend, where she regularly attends home football games.
It is also linked to a religious group with a sulphurous reputation, called the People of Praise. Amy Coney Barrett has never confirmed being a member of this Catholic community, but her father and her husband’s father were senior executives, revealed the New York Times. This group, described as sectarian by some, applies principles of life which are not unlike those depicted in the dystopian work “The Handmaid’s Tale” (The Handmaid’s Tale).
As in the series, members must swear obedience to the community, and each is assigned a guardian. These guides have a vast influence on the life of their disciple, since they have a say in their romantic relationships, their choice of career, the place of residence or even the decision to buy or not a property, says the New York Times.
Amy Coney Barrett’s closeness to this community has become a privileged angle of attack for Democrats since she was among the serious candidates for a post at the Supreme Court. “Of course, this kind of group can sometimes be so invasive that it becomes difficult for a member to maintain his independence of mind,” summarizes Sarah Barringer Gordon, professor of American legal history at the University of Pennsylvania. , interviewed by the New York Times.
Unravel the right to abortion?
The religious right will probably pass the sponge on these links with a group at least eccentric as long as its political agenda is defended in the Supreme Court by their champion. Starting with the thorny issue of the right to abortion. And Amy Coney Barrett never concealed that she was hostile to it. “Her voice, as a woman, will surely carry more weight in matters than that of a man”, underlines the Wall Street Journal. But during her legal career, she always said that she would respect the precedents of the Supreme Court in this matter. In other words, she does not intend to call into question the very principle of the right to abortion if she becomes a judge on the Supreme Court.
But it could help unravel it. She has, in fact, written opinions differing from certain judgments in favor of the right to abortion, which indicates her conviction that states have a certain latitude to restrict recourse to this operation, recalls the Scotusblog.
She is also very attached to another Conservative hobbyhorse: the right to own a gun. Amy Coney Barrett is what is called in the United States an “originalist”, meaning that she interprets the Constitution according to what she thinks to be the will of the founding fathers. She applied this doctrine in one case in 2019 that won her praise from the gun lobby. She then dissociated herself from the rest of the Court of Appeal which had ruled that a man with a criminal record was not allowed to possess a weapon. For Amy Coney Barrett, while the framers of the Constitution did not want to leave a gun in the hands of a “dangerous” man, a criminal record did not automatically mean that the person was dangerous with a weapon.
Amy Coney Barrett therefore has all the qualities to “move the lines of the cultural battle”, enthuses The Federalist, a conservative site that campaigns for his candidacy. But there is also a big catch which, in this period of electoral campaign, could be fatal to him. His assets in the eyes of the evangelists could become handicaps for the more moderate voters that Donald Trump will need if he wants to hope to be reelected. If she was named, “we would only talk about abortion until the election, which would galvanize the Democrats and prevent us from being audible to voters less sensitive to this issue,” fears a member of the Republican Party who preferred to remain anonymous, interviewed by the Washington Post.