Despite a Democrat Senate Judiciary Committee boycott and a concerted effort to stop the legitimate confirmation of a U.S. Supreme Court nominee, the Senate today did confirm Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court. Justice Barrett made it clear at her confirmation hearings that she is beholden to the U.S. Constitution, not a political party and not to personal policy preferences.

The vote was 52-48 with Arizona Senator Martha McSally voting to confirm Justice Barrett and Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema voting against confirmation.

Justice Barrett clerked for the late Justice Antonin Scalia, and, like him, she approaches the Constitution from a textualist or originalist perspective. She judges laws based on the text and original meaning of the Constitution.

We can expect the newest Justice to reject advocating or legislating from the bench, an illegitimate role some judges and justices have embraced.

Senators who had criticized Justice Barrett’s nomination, boycotted her confirmation hearings in the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee. Nonetheless, a majority voted to move the vote to the full Senate, where she was confirmed late today.

Justice Barrett takes her new position just over a week before the Court hears arguments in a critical religious freedom case. In Fulton v The City of Philadelphia the Court will decide if Philadelphia’s so-called nondiscrimination law violates the religious freedoms of Catholic Charities in its adoption and foster care program.

Catholic Charities holds to the biblical teachings of marriage between one man and one woman. Placing children with same-sex couples violates their deeply held religious beliefs. The City of Philadelphia requires adoption and foster services include same-sex couples, disqualifying the long-time services of Catholic Charities, unless they shun their beliefs and conform to the City’s demands.

Justice Barrett’s Constitutionalist approach to law will be critical in deciding this case, and others moving forward.

 

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