News

Law & the Courts

Barrett Vows to Interpret Constitution ‘As Written,’ Says Courts ‘Should Not Try’ to Make Policy

Judge Amy Coney Barrett presented her judicial outlook as drawing on that of former Justice Antonin Scalia, during her opening statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday.

Barrett clerked for Scalia in the late 1990s, has since worked as a lawyer, and is currently a judge on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Scalia’s “judicial philosophy was straightforward: a judge must apply the law as it is written, not as she wishes it were,” Barrett said.

“Courts are not designed to solve every problem or right every wrong in our public life,” Barrett continued. “The policy decisions and value judgements of government must be made by the political branches, elected by and accountable to the people. The public should not expect courts to do so and courts should not try.”

Republicans are pushing to confirm Barrett to the Court before the November elections, a move that Democrats have vociferously opposed. If Barrett is confirmed to replace liberal justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, conservatives will make up a 6-3 majority on the Court’s bench.

In her remarks, Barrett vowed to take into account opposing sides of each argument in a case.

“When I write an opinion resolving a case, I read every word from the perspective of the losing party,” Barrett said. “I ask myself how would I view the decision if one of my children was the party I was ruling against: Even though I would not like the result, would I understand that the decision was fairly reasoned and grounded in the law? That is the standard I set for myself in every case, and it is the standard I will follow as long as I am a judge on any court.”

Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously praised Barrett during the opening hearing on Monday, while Democrats warned that her confirmation would set back women’s reproductive rights and threaten the Affordable Care Act. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) has refused entirely to meet with Barrett during the confirmation process, and called her nomination “illegitimate.”

During the hearing, Senator Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa) said Democrats’ concerns about Barrett were unfounded.

“The Left slammed [Justice John Paul] Stevens for his consistent opposition to women’s rights; they called [Justice] Anthony Kennedy sexist and a disaster for women; they said [Justice] David Souter would quote, ‘end freedom of women in this country,'” Grassley said. “Their doomsday predictions failed to pan out.”

Send a tip to the news team at NR.

Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.

Most Popular

The Capital Note

Palantir’s Eye-Popping Rally

Welcome to the Capital Note, a newsletter about business, finance and economics. On the menu today: Palantir shares skyrocket, a giant of labor economics passes away, Slack in acquisition talks with Salesforce, and Yellen’s plans for Treasury-Fed cooperation. The Palantir Bump: Politics or Product? Palantir, ... Read More
The Capital Note

Palantir’s Eye-Popping Rally

Welcome to the Capital Note, a newsletter about business, finance and economics. On the menu today: Palantir shares skyrocket, a giant of labor economics passes away, Slack in acquisition talks with Salesforce, and Yellen’s plans for Treasury-Fed cooperation. The Palantir Bump: Politics or Product? Palantir, ... Read More
White House

Implications of the Flynn Pardon

President Trump granted a pardon to Michael Flynn, his former national-security adviser, today. Flynn had pled guilty to lying to FBI agents about conversations, during the 2016 transition, with the Russian ambassador about sanctions. Flynn’s pardon should bring to an end one gross violation of the ... Read More
White House

Implications of the Flynn Pardon

President Trump granted a pardon to Michael Flynn, his former national-security adviser, today. Flynn had pled guilty to lying to FBI agents about conversations, during the 2016 transition, with the Russian ambassador about sanctions. Flynn’s pardon should bring to an end one gross violation of the ... Read More

The Rural Way

Almost every national Election Night reveals the same old red/blue map. The country geographically is a sea of red. The coasts and small areas along the southern border and around the Great Lakes remain blue atolls. Yet when the maps are recalibrated for population rather than area, the blue areas blow up, ... Read More

The Rural Way

Almost every national Election Night reveals the same old red/blue map. The country geographically is a sea of red. The coasts and small areas along the southern border and around the Great Lakes remain blue atolls. Yet when the maps are recalibrated for population rather than area, the blue areas blow up, ... Read More
The Economy

The New York Times Sells Envy

A product always sure to sell, even on Thanksgiving, and especially amid a pandemic, is envy. So I can hardly blame New York Times columnist Farhad Manjoo for capitalizing on a bull market. Lamenting that the portfolios of America’s richest men and women have made a quicker recovery from the ... Read More
The Economy

The New York Times Sells Envy

A product always sure to sell, even on Thanksgiving, and especially amid a pandemic, is envy. So I can hardly blame New York Times columnist Farhad Manjoo for capitalizing on a bull market. Lamenting that the portfolios of America’s richest men and women have made a quicker recovery from the ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Welcoming the Old Guard

After a primary campaign riven by debates over radical policies championed by progressive factions within the Democratic Party -- and indeed a general election that saw many incumbent Democrats threatened or defeated because of voters’ uneasiness with progressivism -- the incoming administration and Congress ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Welcoming the Old Guard

After a primary campaign riven by debates over radical policies championed by progressive factions within the Democratic Party -- and indeed a general election that saw many incumbent Democrats threatened or defeated because of voters’ uneasiness with progressivism -- the incoming administration and Congress ... Read More
Elections

To ‘Steal’ an Election

Dan has a good article on the homepage, the main point of which is that the system worked, since Trump’s efforts to reverse the election failed. Certainly I agree with him about that. But he also finds charges that Trump tried to “steal” the election “overheated.” Since I made such a claim myself, I ... Read More
Elections

To ‘Steal’ an Election

Dan has a good article on the homepage, the main point of which is that the system worked, since Trump’s efforts to reverse the election failed. Certainly I agree with him about that. But he also finds charges that Trump tried to “steal” the election “overheated.” Since I made such a claim myself, I ... Read More