An Empty SCOTUS Seat: Epstein & Yoo on Ginsburg, Barrett, the Hearings, and the Future of the Court

In 2006, long before she was a judge, Amy Barrett agreed to let her name appear with many of her neighbors in a newspaper insert under the statement, “We, the following citizens of Michiana, oppose abortion on demand and support the right to life from fertilization to natural death.” The insert was placed by St. Joseph County Right to Life. It appeared next to anti-Roe v. Wade commentary from the organization, but signatories were asked only to approve the statement.

Barrett’s signature is the most direct confirmation we have received that she believes there should be limits on abortion, but it is not a surprise: We already knew that she had been part of Notre Dame’s “Faculty for Life,” and that she is a Catholic who seeks to adhere to Church teaching. She has not, however, stated a view on whether the Supreme Court should alter its jurisprudence to allow legislatures to protect the right to life, and if so how.

Barrett’s opponents are sure to point to the statement as evidence that she would overrule Roe v. Wade and related cases and should therefore be denied confirmation. Presumably, she will take the same tack as most Supreme Court nominees and refuse to say how she would rule in matters that may come before her if she is confirmed.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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