October 13, 2020
President Trump made the right choice in selecting Amy Coney Barrett to serve on the Supreme Court. I fully support the nomination and confirmation of Judge Barrett as an Associate Justice to the Supreme Court this year—and for good reason. Despite some confusion, historical precedent clearly supports the Senate taking up an election year vacancy to the Supreme Court when we have united government—meaning the same party holds the White House and Senate majority.
Today, we have a united government. In 2016 and 2018, voters went to the polls to elect a president and Senate majority of the same party. The precedent for nearly every vacancy in election years in which the White House and Senate majority are of the same party indicates that the nomination be considered and confirmed. I believe the voters, knowing the importance of the Supreme Court and what was at stake, spoke clearly when they expanded the Republican majority of the Senate in 2018.
Unsurprisingly, Senate Democrats and the mainstream media have misconstrued what happened with the Supreme Court vacancy in 2016 with today’s vacancy. The "Biden rule", which was appropriately followed in 2016, does not apply to today’s vacancy. That precedent refers to election year vacancies in which the White House and Senate are governed by different parties—also known as divided government. The truth is no SCOTUS nomination has been confirmed in the modern era during a presidential election year when there has been divided government. In fact, the last time the Senate confirmed a nomination under those circumstances was 1888.
There has been a SCOTUS vacancy in a presidential election year 15 times, and presidents have made nominations every time. In 8 of those instances, the parties were the same and 7 of the nominees were confirmed. The only time a nominee was not confirmed under these circumstances was in 1968, in which the nominee faced bipartisan opposition over ethical concerns and ultimately was withdrawn from consideration. If we did not vote on and confirm Judge Barrett, President Trump’s well qualified nominee, it would be inconsistent with precedent and a failure of our Constitutional responsibilities.
We have an exceptional candidate in Judge Barrett. She’s a proud mother of seven and an impressive lawyer. She clerked for the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and was later a law professor at Notre Dame. In 2017, she was confirmed by the Senate with bipartisan support to serve as a circuit judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. Throughout her career, Judge Barrett has shown her commitment to upholding the rule of law and Constitution. She has a distinguished record of defending the right to life, respecting religious liberty and exercising judicial restraint. She’s proven she is fair and impartial—as a Supreme Court Justice should be—and she has a dedication to protecting our most fundamental rights.
With Judge Barrett’s nomination, we have further evidence of a president who has made our judicial system a top priority. Under his direction, we have successfully confirmed 53 circuit court nominees—almost double the number under President Obama at this point in his presidency and—161 district judges. President Trump has nominated, and the Senate has confirmed, more qualified judicial nominees at this point than any of the last five presidents.
Senate Democrats have taken unprecedented actions to slander, delay and block qualified judicial nominations. Instead of treating nominees with respect, Democrats have set the precedent of filibustering highly qualified nominees simply because they are appointed by a Republican president. They have even gone as far as smearing honest, reputable court nominees, especially those appointed to the Supreme Court. They did it with Justice Kavanaugh and, sadly, they are threatening to do it again.
I am proud to have a president who is not intimidated by the political games of the far-left. President Trump understands the importance of judicial nominations and I, for one, will continue fighting to confirm his outstanding selections in the Senate. President Trump’s choice in Judge Barrett is top notch and we must confirm her quickly.
This op-ed originally appeared in The Woodward News on October 13, 2020.