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Why Senator Joe Manchin should vote ‘yea’ again on Judge Amy Coney Barrett

Oct 7, 2020 by AFP

Late last week, Senator Joe Manchin met with Judge Amy Coney Barrett in the Capitol to discuss her recent nomination by President Donald Trump to the Supreme Court. When Judge Barrett was nominated in 2017 for a position on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, he was sufficiently impressed with her qualifications to support her confirmation.  

Senator Manchin has already said he will not support moving forward Judge Barrett’s nomination for the Supreme Court this close to the election, but he ought to reconsider. Judge Barrett is eminently qualified for the Court.  

Here are three things Judge Barrett said during her 2017 confirmation that demonstrate her qualifications. 

It’s never appropriate for a judge to impose that judge’s personal convictions, whether they arise from faith or anywhere else, on the law.” 

All judges have personal convictions — but the difference between a judge who performs her job well and one who doesn’t is whether that judge incorporates those convictions into her rulings. 

While some judges view themselves as robed super-legislators empowered to create law from the bench, Judge Barrett would take care to leave her political preferences at the Supreme Court’s bronze doors.  

That’s exactly what Americans expect from a judge. 

The basic insight of originalism is that the Constitution is a law and should be interpreted like one. Thus, where the meaning of text is ascertainable, a judge must apply it.” 

Some judges believe the Constitution is a living, breathing document whose meaning changes with time — and a healthy dose of motivated reasoning that, quite often, just happens to conform to their personal convictions.  

Judge Barrett knows better. When ruling on cases, she abides by the legal philosophy of originalism, which holds that the Constitution means exactly what its plain text meant to those who wrote and ratified it. 

The Constitution isn’t an elastic document that bends to a judge’s will. Those who believe it is do harm to the rule of law. 

If confirmed to the Supreme Court, Judge Barrett would protect our Constitution and the rights it enshrines. 

I totally reject and I have rejected throughout my entire career the proposition that … the end justifies the means or that a judge should decide cases based on a desire to reach a certain outcome.” 

Plenty of lawmakers have already announced that they will not vote to confirm Judge Barrett if she does not pledge to support their preferred policy outcomes from the bench. They fundamentally misunderstand the role of a judge — and forget that they are supposed to write the laws. 

Judge Barrett will go where the Constitution leads. She won’t be led by the passions of temporary majorities. 

That’s exactly why we need her to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court. West Virginians — and all Americans — deserve a justice who will protect the Constitution, safeguard their rights, and defend the rule of law. 

Tell Senator Manchin: Vote to confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.