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This Federal Judge May Be Conservative 'Dream' for Court

Amy Coney Barrett, a devout Catholic and mother of 7, is seen as a top contender
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 3, 2018 2:32 PM CDT

(Newser) – President Trump will announce his next Supreme Court nominee in less than a week, and one name popping up on everybody's short list is Amy Coney Barrett. CBS News, for example, reports that Coney Barrett is one of two leading contenders, along with another federal judge, Brett Kavanaugh. Coney Barrett, who sits on the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago, is just 46 and would give Trump an opportunity to leave a long-lasting imprint on the court. She is also a devout Catholic with seven children, and her religious beliefs came up in last year's confirmation hearing for her current post. Coverage:

  • Good bet: Coney Barrett's bio—a young mother of seven, a person of faith, and a former clerk of Antonin Scalia who is "reliably conservative"—surely entices the president, writes Chris Cillizza at CNN. "If you combine Trump's love for making history ... with his emphasis on appearance (the next SCOTUS nominee has to have immaculate academic credentials, yes, but also, the robe simply has to look like she—or he—was born to wear it) then there is a big, flashing red arrow pointing at Coney Barrett."

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  • 7 quotes: Bustle rounds up seven quotes from Coney Barrett, including her assertion that it is "never appropriate for a judge to apply their personal convictions, whether it derives from faith or personal conviction." She also once told students at Notre Dame, where she got her law degree, "A legal career is but a means to an end ... and that end is building the Kingdom of God."
  • People of Praise: The New York Times has reported that Coney Barrett is a member of a Christian group called People of Praise, some of whose "practices would surprise many faithful Catholics," writes Laurie Goodstein. "Members of the group swear a lifelong oath of loyalty, called a covenant, to one another, and are assigned and are accountable to a personal adviser, called a 'head' for men and a 'handmaid' for women. The group teaches that husbands are the heads of their wives and should take authority over the family."
  • A prediction: Matt Lewis hopes Trump picks Coney Barrett, and he predicts that he will. But Lewis also expects critics to portray her as a "weird extremist," he writes in the Daily Beast. Expect people to bring up the "handmaid" reference in the People of Praise item above in the context of the The Handmaid's Tale, which he writes would be wildly misleading. The pick would surely lead to a lively fight with Democrats, but Lewis thinks Trump would relish it.

  • Big line: In last year's confirmation hearing, Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein worried about whether Coney Barrett's religious beliefs would improperly influence her rulings. “When you read your speeches, the conclusion one draws is that the dogma lives loudly within you," she said. But GOP Sen. Orrin Hatch accused Democrats of using an unconstitutional “religious test” for office, per the Times.
  • Roe v. Wade: So would she vote to overturn it? Trump says he will not specifically ask his nominees that question. Coney Barrett, however, has no problem overturning court precedents she views as not being in line with the Constitution, reports the Los Angeles Times. And she once referred to the Roe decision as "erroneous," according to a letter to the Senate last year from 17 women's rights groups.
  • On that note: Ramesh Ponnuru is all in favor of Coney Barrett, and he writes that selecting a conservative woman would be especially fitting. "It cannot be good for conservatism that all three women now on the court are liberals," he writes at Bloomberg. "If Roe v. Wade is ever overturned—as I certainly hope it will be, as it is an unjust decision with no plausible basis in the Constitution—it would be better if it were not done by only male justices, with every female justice in dissent."
  • Evangelicals: "Many of my sources, evangelical in nature, love her," CBN political correspondent David Brody told the 700 Club. "They believe that she is the one that if they had their dream pick that she would be the one." Coney Barrett, he adds, "has been very outspoken of her Catholic views and God."
(Read more US Supreme Court stories.)

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