Justice Amy Coney Barrett Stakes Out Distinctive Stance in Trump Case

Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s opinion was just a page long, all of two paragraphs. But in distancing herself from both blocs in Monday’s nominally unanimous Supreme Court decision rejecting a constitutional challenge to former President Donald J. Trump’s eligibility to hold office, she staked out a distinctive role.

Justice Barrett was the third of Mr. Trump’s appointees, rushed onto the court after the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, arriving just before the 2020 election. But she is viewed as one of the more moderate members, relatively speaking, of the court’s six-member conservative supermajority. At oral arguments, she can convey a mix of intellectual seriousness and common sense.

In public appearances, she is adamant that the court is apolitical, though she sometimes says so in venues that undercut her message.

In 2021, for instance, Justice Barrett told an audience in Kentucky that “my goal today is to convince you that this court is not comprised of a bunch of partisan hacks.”

She was speaking at the University of Louisville’s McConnell Center, after an introduction by Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the minority leader, who helped found the center and was instrumental in ensuring her confirmation. Last year, she was the featured speaker at the annual gala of the Federalist Society, the conservative legal group.

At first blush, her concurring opinion on Monday was an act of solidarity with the liberal members of the court — and its other three women. Like them, Justice Barrett wrote that the majority had gone too far in the process of ruling that Colorado could not disqualify Mr. Trump from its primary ballot under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, which bars officials who have sworn to support the Constitution and then engaged in insurrection from holding office.

Back to top button