Photo: Aurora Samperio/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Judge Amy Coney Barrett — expected to be named by President Trump today to succeed Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg — would give conservatives a 6-3 majority on the Supreme Court, and an edge on issues from abortion to the limits of presidential power.

The big picture: Republicans love the federal appeals court judge's age — she is only 48 — and her record as a steadfast social conservative.

Where she stands: In her academic writings, public appearances and decisions as a judge on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals (based in Chicago; she lives in Indiana), Barrett has staked out conservative positions on a host of huge issues:

  • Health care: She wrote in 2017 that Chief Justice John Roberts betrayed the tenets of conservative legal analysis when he upheld the Affordable Care Act. The law will be back before the court in November.
  • Guns: She said in a dissenting opinion in 2019 that she would have struck down the federal law that bars all felons, including non-violent felons, from owning guns.
  • Immigration: In another dissenting opinion, Barrett voted to let the Trump administration implement rules making it harder for immigrants to get green cards if they’re likely to rely on public programs like Medicaid or food stamps.

Abortion rights are a massive issue in any Supreme Court confirmation. While Barrett has not ruled directly on abortion, abortion-rights opponents have plenty of good reasons to believe she’s on their side:

  • She said all the things nominees always say about honoring precedent during her 7th Circuit confirmation hearings in 2017, and will surely do so again in her Supreme Court confirmation.
  • Barrett, a devout Catholic, has signed public letters describing the “value of human life from conception to natural death” and sharply criticizing the way the Obama administration handled the ACA's contraception mandate.
  • She cast procedural votes on the 7th Circuit that suggested she might have upheld abortion laws that court ultimately struck down.

The bottom line: Barrett's confirmation will quickly and aggressively move the court to the right.

Go deeper

Updated Oct 22, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Supreme Court blocks Alabama curbside voting measure

Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Wednesday evening blocked a lower court order that would have allowed voters to cast ballots curbside at Alabama polling places on Election Day.

Whit it matters: With less than two weeks until Election Day, the justices voted 5-3 to reinstate the curbside voting ban and overturn a lower court judge's ruling designed to protect people with disabilities during the coronavirus pandemic.

Senate Dems will boycott vote to advance Judge Amy Coney Barrett

Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

Senate Democrats are expected to boycott Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett’s Thursday Judiciary Committee vote, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced on Wednesday.

The big picture: The boycott will not prevent Barrett from moving forward in the nomination process, but the largely symbolic display is a symptom of Democrats and Republicans’ clashing over President Trump’s Supreme Court pick.

Senate Judiciary advances Amy Coney Barrett nomination

Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday advanced the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court despite a boycott by Democratic senators.

The big picture: The 12 Republicans on the panel voted in favor of advancing the nomination while the committee's 10 Democrats submitted no votes. Democrats instead placed enlarged photos of Affordable Care Act beneficiaries in their seats, drawing attention to the upcoming Supreme Court case on the legislation. A full Senate vote on Barrett's nomination is set for Oct. 26.