‘Judge Amy Coney Barrett Has All The Qualities Of A First-Class Supreme Court Justice’

Legal Experts And Law Professors With A Range Of Political Opinions All Praise Judge Amy Coney Barrett For Having The ‘Intellectual Chops And Experience For The Job’ And Say She ‘Will Inspire Several Generations Of Female Lawyers And Academics,’ But Some Senate Democrats Won’t Even Talk About Her Undeniable Qualifications


SENATE MAJORITY LEADER MITCH McCONNELL (R-KY): “This week, the Senators who are sitting down with Judge Amy Coney Barrett are meeting an incredibly impressive jurist and highly qualified nominee…. Some of our Democratic colleagues have decided they will refuse to meet with Judge Barrett. Several have volunteered that their votes will have nothing to do with her qualifications — as though that were something to be proud of. The Democratic Leader says, quote, ‘it’s not her qualifications.’ The junior Senator for Delaware says ‘this isn’t about her qualifications.’ Certainly, every Senator may define ‘advice and consent’ how they wish. But I think it is telling to see Senate Democrats openly affirming that Judge Barrett’s actual judicial qualifications do not matter to them. Our friends on the left really do mistake the Court as an unelected super-legislature. They are not interested in Judge Barrett’s legal qualifications because they think judges are there to dictate policy outcomes, rather than following the facts and the text wherever they lead.” (Sen. McConnell, Remarks, 9/30/2020)

SEN. TODD YOUNG (R-IN): “Let me just affirm that the president made an outstanding choice in selecting Indiana's own judge Amy Coney Barrett as a nominee to serve as associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. I've come to know Amy, got to know her over the course of her Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals nomination process. She's a person of great integrity, very sharp intellect, incredible--incredibly strong work ethic, even good humor. The Democrats aren't going to make this about her qualifications, though. We all need to prepare for that. They want to make this about anything but Amy Coney Barrett's qualifications to serve in the highest court of the land.” (Sen. Young, Press Conference, 9/30/2020)


State Attorneys General: ‘Judge Barrett Is A Distinguished Legal Scholar And An Exceptional Appellate Judge,’ ‘Her Exemplary Record Will Reveal She Has The Qualifications, Experience, And Judicial Philosophy To Be An Outstanding Associate Justice’

22 STATE ATTORNEYS GENERAL: “We, the undersigned Attorneys General of our States, write to urge the Senate to promptly hold a hearing on and confirm the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court of the United States. Judge Barrett is a distinguished legal scholar and an exceptional appellate judge with a track record of interpreting the Constitution according to its text and original public meaning. As we are sure your review of her exemplary record will reveal, she has the qualifications, experience, and judicial philosophy to be an outstanding Associate Justice.” (22 State Attorneys General, Letter to Sens. McConnell, Schumer, Graham, and Feinstein, 9/30/2020)

  • “As impressive as her background is Judge Barrett’s unwavering commitment to a judicial philosophy that prioritizes restraint, humility, and respect for the rule of law. Speaking during her nomination to the Seventh Circuit, Judge Barrett emphasized that she has ‘rejected throughout my entire career the proposition that the end justifies the means or that a judge should decide cases based on a desire to reach a certain outcome.’ In other words, it is not the role of judges to create law or policy, or to ‘impose [their] own personal convictions upon the law.’” (22 State Attorneys General, Letter to Sens. McConnell, Schumer, Graham, and Feinstein, 9/30/2020)


Law Professors And Legal Experts:Judge Amy Coney Barrett Has All The Qualities Of A First-Class Supreme Court Justice: Intellect, Wisdom, Temperament And Restraint,’ She ‘Has Dedicated Her Career To Thoughtful Study Of Interpreting Laws And Weighing Precedents,’ ‘She Has Something To Say And Is A True Intellectual,’ ‘Her Dedication Throughout Decades To The Unrelenting And High-Stakes Work Of Lawyering, Writing, Teaching And Judging Make Her A Role Model’

JONATHAN TURLEY, George Washington University Law Professor: “Nominations have often favored jurists who never uttered an interesting thought in their careers. The Supreme Court should be a place for those, such as [Justice] Ginsburg, who rise to it with well-articulated jurisprudence. While both Harvard professor Noah Feldman and I testified on opposing sides in the impeachment of President Trump, we have both praised Barrett for her intellect and writings in her legal career. Barrett has lived and thought boldly…. She has something to say and is a true intellectual.”  (Jonathan Turley, “Judge Amy Coney Barrett On Her Intellect, Not Her Faith,” jonathanturley.org, 9/26/2020)

ILYA SHAPIRO, Cato Institute Director of Constitutional Studies: “Judge Amy Coney Barrett has the potential not simply to be another originalist voice … but to be an intellectual leader on the Supreme Court. She has excelled at all stages of her career, including winning teaching awards and mentoring students, and has done so while raising a beautiful family and being universally liked and respected…. [W]e don’t have to guess at Barrett’s jurisprudence either. She has a long paper trail of academic and judicial writings, which display a thoughtful and scholarly approach to both legal substance and the prudential aspects of judging.” (CNN Commentators on Amy Coney Barrett, 9/28/2020)

ELIZABETH SLATTERY, Pacific Legal Foundation Senior Legal Fellow: “Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg fought to shatter stereotypes about women throughout her career, helping to create a world in which, she said, women can be found ‘in all places where decisions are being made.’ She fought for equality for women as individuals, not as a monolithic group that thinks and acts the same…. The nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett embodies the idea that there isn’t just one way for women to think, write and reason about the law…. What’s clear is that Ginsburg’s trailblazing career has paved the way for women with a range of judicial philosophies to sit on the federal courts. Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court is truly a triumph of Ginsburg’s equality project.” (CNN Commentators on Amy Coney Barrett, 9/28/2020)

PAUL CALLAN, CNN Legal Analyst: “Amy Coney Barrett, a 48-year-old judge at the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago, has the head, heart, and history to be an outstanding Supreme Court justice…. A jurist of formidable intellect, Barrett has authored more than 100 opinions, including some spirited dissents, since being named to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in 2017…. [G]iven Barrett’s stellar credentials, strong sense of faith and big supportive family, she promises to be a worthy successor to another woman of intellect, empathy and heart, the Honorable Ruth Bader Ginsburg.” (CNN Commentators on Amy Coney Barrett, 9/28/2020)

JOHN YOO, UC Berkley Law Professor: “In any normal time, the Senate would quickly confirm, and the president would appoint, Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. … Barrett should win the support of anyone who wants judges of intelligence, experience, and character. For the last three years, she has served as a judge on one of the most important federal appeals courts, the Seventh Circuit covering Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin.” (John Yoo, Op-Ed, “Amy Coney Barrett And Dems – Left Will Try To Turn One Of Her Greatest Strengths Into Her Weakness,” Fox News, 9/27/2020)

SAIKRISHNA PRAKASH, University of Virginia Law Professor: “Judge Amy Coney Barrett has all the qualities of a first-class Supreme Court justice: intellect, wisdom, temperament and restraint. In addition to serving on the 7th Circuit, she is an accomplished teacher and scholar at Notre Dame, with several learned articles discussing the intricacies and nuances of statutory interpretation, originalism and precedent…. Precisely how a Justice Barrett will surprise her critics and fans is unknown. But with perhaps almost two decades of service in front of her, what is certain is that she will do the unexpected. She is not a results-first, principles-second sort of jurist. And her principled stances on interpretation and the judicial role will lead her to unexpected outcomes.” (Politico Magazine, 9/26/2020)

HELEN ALVARÉ, George Mason University Law Professor: “Amy Coney Barrett will inspire several generations of female lawyers and academics for many of the same reasons Ruth Bader Ginsburg did. Her intellectual excellence and her dedication throughout decades to the unrelenting and high-stakes work of lawyering, writing, teaching and judging make her a role model for lawyers generally.” (Politico Magazine, 9/26/2020)

ADAM J. WHITE, George Mason University Assistant Law Professor: “As a judge and a scholar, Amy Coney Barrett has dedicated her career to thoughtful study of interpreting laws and weighing precedents. She would be an ideal Supreme Court justice in any era, but especially in this era, when proper understandings of legal interpretation and stare decisis are of such central importance to the court’s work. There is every reason to expect that Judge Barrett will be an exemplary justice …” (Politico Magazine, 9/26/2020)


Liberal Law Professor Noah Feldman, With Whom Judge Barrett Served As A Supreme Court Clerk: Judge ‘Barrett Is Highly Qualified,’ ‘A Brilliant And Conscientious Lawyer Who Will Analyze And Decide Cases In Good Faith,’ ‘I’m Going To Be Confident That Barrett Is Going To Be A Good Justice, Maybe Even A Great One’

NOAH FELDMAN, Liberal Harvard Law Professor: “[P]olitical judgments need to be distinguished from a separate question: what to think about Judge Amy Coney Barrett … And here I want to be extremely clear. Regardless of what you or I may think of the circumstances of this nomination, Barrett is highly qualified to serve on the Supreme Court. I disagree with much of her judicial philosophy … Yet despite this disagreement, I know her to be a brilliant and conscientious lawyer who will analyze and decide cases in good faith, applying the jurisprudential principles to which she is committed. Those are the basic criteria for being a good justice. Barrett meets and exceeds them.” (Noah Feldman, “Amy Coney Barrett Deserves to Be on the Supreme Court,” Bloomberg Opinion, 9/26/2020)

  • NOAH FELDMAN: “I got to know Barrett more than 20 years ago when we clerked at the Supreme Court during the 1998-99 term. Of the thirty-some clerks that year, all of whom had graduated at the top of their law school classes and done prestigious appellate clerkships before coming to work at the court, Barrett stood out. Measured subjectively and unscientifically by pure legal acumen, she was one of the two strongest lawyers.” (Noah Feldman, “Amy Coney Barrett Deserves to Be on the Supreme Court,” Bloomberg Opinion, 9/26/2020)


Even Law Professors With Differing Views On Judge Barrett Recognize ‘A Scholar Who Reasons Carefully About Legal Cases And Controversies,’ Who ‘Boasts Academic Qualifications That Are Second-To-None’ And Say ‘She’s A Brilliant Person, She’s A Lovely Person’

NEAL KATYAL, Georgetown Law Professor & Former Obama Administration Solicitor General: “I mean, I very much, I think everyone should agree with President Trump that she deserves a respectful and dignified hearing. And I think you’ll hear many Democrats acknowledge she’s a brilliant person, she’s a lovely person…” (NBC, 9/28/2020)

TOMIKO BROWN-NAGIN, Harvard Law Professor: “[I]t would be a mistake to dismiss Judge Barrett as a mere partisan or a zealot; her writings bear the mark of a scholar who reasons carefully about legal cases and controversies.” (Politico Magazine, 9/26/2020)

KIMBERLY WEHLE, University of Baltimore Law Professor: “Amy Coney Barrett … has the intellectual chops and experience for the job. A number of her former colleagues and students at Notre Dame have even praised her as an effective and creative teacher with an affable demeanor — all positive traits for the eight Americans with whom she would share the extraordinary powers of the U.S. Supreme Court and for the elite members of that bar.” (Politico Magazine, 9/26/2020)

JOHN CULHANE, Delaware Law School Fellow: “She is an able federal judge. Her writing is crisp and clear, and her arguments sound … She has a compelling personal story. Among other things, she and her husband have adopted two children from Haiti, and her students and colleagues at Notre Dame Law School have commended her teaching and her collegiality. It’s also refreshing to see a nominee without an Ivy League degree. Barrett, who also attended Notre Dame Law School and a small liberal arts college, boasts academic qualifications that are second-to-none.” (Politico Magazine, 9/26/2020)

But Senate Democrats Who Insisted In 2016 That A Nominee’s ‘Qualifications And Character Will Overpower’ Objections Now Say, ‘This Isn’t About Her Qualifications’

ABC’s MARTHA RADDATZ: “So, Senator Schumer, let me ask you this, Judge Barrett was confirmed to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, in 2017, in a bipartisan vote after the American Bar Association rated her as ‘well qualified.’ She graduated summa cum laude from Notre Dame law school, clerked for Antonin Scalia, and has been a highly regarded law professor for over 15 years now. Given those credentials, do you believe she is qualified to sit on the Supreme Court?”
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), 2020: “Look, It’s not her qualifications or any personal characteristics about her.” (ABC, 9/29/2020)

CNN’s ERIN BURNETT: [B]ut yet, Noah Feldman, Harvard law professor, obviously, he testified in favor of Trump’s impeachment last year. He wrote an op-ed that he’s known Barrett for more than 20 years, she’s more than qualified. He says, quote, it’s better for the Republic to have principled, brilliant lawyer on the bench, referring to her, he calls her brilliant and principled, than a weaker candidate. That’s Barrett. What do you say to that? … She’s qualified, capable, and deserves her spot.”
SEN. CHRIS COONS (D-DE), 2020: “What I would say, frankly, is that this isn’t about her qualifications.” (CNN, 9/28/2020)

  • COONS, 2016: “I suspect that hearings would confirm my instinct that Judge Garland is a very highly capable candidate, a devoted public servant, and someone eminently qualified to serve on the Supreme Court. I’m hopeful that every Senator will have the respect and decency to meet with Judge Garland in person, and if they do, I’m confident that his qualifications and character will overpower the obstructionism that has greeted his nomination.” (Sen. Coons, Press Release, 4/07/2016)
  • COONS, 2016: “I have heard no significant issues or questions raised about the qualifications of Chief Judge Garland. … I urge all my colleagues to seriously… consider this able and qualified nominee.” (Sen. Coons, Congressional Record, S.6117, 9/27/2016)



Related Issues: Senate Democrats, Supreme Court, Judicial Nominations