Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. ‘The Conenator’

 

Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court is now official. The former Notre Dame Law School graduate and professor will now take the next step to a seat on the Supreme Court.

Born and raised in New Orleans, Barrett enjoys the widespread and often passionate support of colleagues stretching back to her days as a clerk for the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia 20 years ago.

Fellow clerks nicknamed Barrett “The Conenator” — a play on her maiden name and reputation for destroying flimsy legal arguments.

I will admit I’m biased in being pleased that President Trump nominated her for the Supreme Court. She did not demolish flimsy legal arguments with personal attacks.

She is an originalist.

Like Scalia, her former boss and mentor, Barrett has a conservative bent and considers herself a public meaning originalist who strictly applies the intent of the authors of the Constitution or other governing laws at the time they were written.

Barrett’s originalist mindset was on display in 2018 when she cited centuries-old laws in Britain and elsewhere in a dissent over a 7th Circuit appeal involving a Wisconsin man convicted of being a felon in possession of a handgun.

While Barrett’s colleagues ruled that Wisconsin’s law barring felons from having firearms was constitutional, Barrett wrote that since the plaintiff had been convicted of a white collar crime, he was not inherently dangerous.

“Founding-era legislatures did not strip felons of the right to bear arms simply because of their status as felons,” Barrett wrote in her dissent, which said the Wisconsin law should be declared unconstitutional. “In 1791 — and for well more than a century afterward — legislatures disqualified categories of people from the right to bear arms only when they judged that doing so was necessary to protect the public safety.”

I’m biased because I received an education, in spite of my best efforts to resist it, from the priests and brothers of the Congregation Holy Cross, the founders, and still in charge at Notre Dame. I attended a much smaller university that is run by these same priests and brothers. Respectful debate and discussion were encouraged. There was disagreement but reasoned expression of ideas, to include politely pointing out flaws in premises and their conclusions was the rule.

As my priest-professor of philosophy would sometimes ask me in class; Mr. Watt, on what authority is your statement based upon? I’m sure that Judge Barrett would be on much firmer ground than I was if she was asked the same question.

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  1. DonG (skeptic) Coolidge

    It will be nice to have someone not from Harvard/Yale.

    • #1
    • September 26, 2020, at 7:45 PM PDT
    • 20 likes
  2. Doug Watt Moderator
    Doug Watt

    DonG (skeptic) (View Comment):

    It will be nice to have someone not from Harvard/Yale.

    I agree, and there were times at university when the priests, and brothers would remind us that they were not going to allow the inmates to run the asylum.

    • #2
    • September 26, 2020, at 7:48 PM PDT
    • 11 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  3. Richard Fulmer Member

    Doug Watt: She did not demolish flimsy legal arguments with personal attacks.

    That would be refreshing.

    • #3
    • September 27, 2020, at 7:54 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  4. Freeven Member
    FreevenJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I would hope that a wise Latina woman Originalist with the richness of her experiences knowledge and commitment to the rule of law would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male judicial activist who hasn’t lived that life.

    • #4
    • September 27, 2020, at 12:09 PM PDT
    • 8 likes
  5. Basil Fawlty Member
    Basil FawltyJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Doug Watt: I will admit I’m biased in being pleased that President Trump nominated her for the Supreme Court. She did not demolish flimsy legal arguments with personal attacks.

    I would also guess she didn’t demolish unflimsy legal arguments with personal attacks.

    • #5
    • September 27, 2020, at 2:15 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  6. Old Bathos Moderator

    An originalist operates from the assumption that the law has substantive meaning which can and should be found regardless of whatever outcome preferences the judge might hold. The left now thinks that the role of a judge is to achieve outcomes favorable to the judge’s tribe/class/party so non-leftist judges must necessarily be trying to please Rush’s listeners or National Review readers. Lefties are no longer in touch with the idea of law. Instead it is only about immediate partisan outcomes.

    I have read comments by various former Scalia clerks and they all talked about his method, his obsession with doing the work to understand the law as written. We are now witnessing the rise of a new jurisprudence in which all that matters is whether the least powerful or other ideologically defined victimized party wins.

    • #6
    • September 27, 2020, at 2:35 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  7. Basil Fawlty Member
    Basil FawltyJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Doug Watt: Fellow clerks nicknamed Barrett “The Conenator” — a play on her maiden name and reputation for destroying flimsy legal arguments.

    Not “The Coneyator”? Or did they never view the Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog? 

    • #7
    • September 27, 2020, at 4:29 PM PDT
    • 1 like