Amy Coney Barrett is a 48-year-old devout Catholic and an apparent abortion-rights opponent who is popular among conservative evangelical Christians, arguably President Donald Trump’s most loyal supporters.
Barrett has authored more than 100 opinions since her 2017 confirmation to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit, which covers the states of Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin.
Her opinions have consistently reflected her conservative values.
She was a front-runner for Trump’s third nomination to the Supreme Court, to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died September 18. He nominated Neil Gorsuch in 2017 to replace Justice Antonin Scalia, who died in 2016. After the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy in 2018, Trump nominated Brett Kavanaugh to fill the seat.
Barrett, a New Orleans native, earned a degree in English literature from Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee, and then entered Notre Dame Law School in Indiana in the fall of 1994.
She began teaching at the law school in 2002 at age 30 and served as a judge for the first time when confirmed for the 7th Circuit.
Seen as Scalia successor
Religious conservatives and others salute Barrett as an ideological successor to the late conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, for whom she worked as a clerk. She is the ideological opposite of Ginsburg.
Scalia was a leading advocate of originalism, in which justices attempt to interpret constitutional laws by what they meant at the time they were written. Barrett has for years expressed sympathy for originalism, which many liberals oppose on the grounds the approach is too rigid and does not allow the Constitution to evolve in contemporary times.
As a law professor, Barrett expressed some criticism of the Supreme Court’s 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade, which protects a pregnant woman’s right to have an abortion.
Barrett has been a member at times of the conservative Federalist Society. She has long been associated with People of Praise, a small spiritual Christian community in Indiana, although her current status with the group is not publicly known.
If confirmed by the Senate, Barrett would become the youngest justice on the nation’s highest court, a position she could maintain for decades.