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Opinion: Amy Coney Barrett deserves the backing of Michigan senators

Stephanie Kreuz

No one hopes to find himself in a case before a judge in a courtroom, no matter what side of a dispute they may fall on. But if they do, everyone wants a fair judge. That is what Judge Amy Coney Barrett would be for the American people.

Born in Louisiana, after living in South Bend for 18 years Barrett can legitimately claim the title of a Midwesterner. As a graduate of Notre Dame Law and long-time professor at the school, her career proves that you do not have to go to an Ivy League college to find success.

Amy Coney Barrett has a resume anyone could admire. Currently, she serves as a judge on the Seventh Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals. Her career started with two prestigious clerkships, including one with the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. She worked for a time in private practice. In her 15-year tenure as a professor at Notre Dame, she was named distinguished professor of the year three times. Her highest compliment though might be her teacher evaluations that said, “Wow, I’m so impressed you could make such a boring subject so interesting.” We’ve all been grateful for that teacher. 

Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett, meets Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., not shown, on Capitol Hill, Thursday, Oct. 1, 2020, in Washington.

Her family is not unlike that of many Michigan families. Since they are just 30 minutes across the border, her family’s summers include frequent trips to the beaches of Lake Michigan. Fall finds the Barretts participating in the time-honored Midwest tradition of tailgating before college football games. For many years they even had an antique vintage fire truck they painted green, and her children protested when  she and her husband considered moving further away from campus. She noted in her nomination speech, “While I am a judge, I’m better known back home as a room parent, carpool driver and birthday party planner.”

Unfortunately, her outstanding professional and personal qualifications have left many Democrats resorting to scare tactics to justify their opposition to her nomination, Michigan Sen. Gary Peters disappointingly among them. While Peters has claimed Barrett’s nomination threatens Americans’ health care, and rights for women, this analysis completely misses the kind of judge Barrett will be. 

The real question is not what Barrett’s personal convictions may or may not be. The real question is whether they can set those opinions aside to fairly consider the case before them. In her confirmation hearing, Barrett said, “Judges can’t just wake up one day and say ‘I have an agenda. I like guns. I hate guns. I like abortion, I hate abortion’ and walk in like a royal queen and impose their will on the world.”

The Supreme Court is not a legislative body. Barrett shows she understands a judge’s role is to faithfully interpret the original meaning of the Constitution and laws, not to form policy and answer political questions. 

There is no reason to delay Barrett’s confirmation, or cast aside a nominee from a president that Michigan voters helped elect in 2016. Going back to 1796, nine of the 10 nominees put forward before the election in presidential election years in which the president and Senate shared the same party were confirmed. 

While Sen. Peters has indicated he intends to vote against Barrett, there is still time for senators to reconsider. Amy Coney Barrett is an outstanding woman, and would make an outstanding Supreme Court Justice. 

Stephanie Kreuz is the regional grassroots coordinator for Michigan for Heritage Action for America.