The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law released its report evaluating the full civil rights record of Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett today, examining her record on civil rights matters, including workers’ rights, criminal justice, voting rights, reproductive access and more – matters central to the Lawyers’ Committee’s mission. The report is based on the opinions authored or joined by the judge during her short tenure on the Seventh Circuit, speeches delivered during her time at Notre Dame Law School and her published articles.
“The Supreme Court occupies a central place in American democracy as the arbiter of the most critical cases that arise across our country,” said Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. “We have carefully evaluated the record underlying Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s time on the Seventh Circuit, her writings and speeches and do not find that she brings the commitment to protecting civil rights principles that our nation needs. We stand opposed to her confirmation to the Court. Her confirmation would dramatically alter the Supreme Court in ways that would prove devastating for Black communities and other people of color across the country.”
Judge Shira Scheindlin, Co-Chair of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, stated “Judge’s Barrett’s record reveals that her views are not those shared by the vast majority of the American people. Our country deserves a Justice who will be faithful to the principle of equal justice under law and who will respect the precedents that the Supreme Court has always espoused. She has not made that commitment.”
The Lawyers’ Committee is currently litigating numerous cases in the Supreme Court pipeline including matters involving ballot access during the pandemic, efforts to ensure a fair and accurate 2020 Census, race-conscious admissions efforts in the higher education context and more. Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s record suggests that she will not be fair and impartial in applying federal civil rights law or the Constitution in these contexts.
Recognizing the Supreme Court’s critical role in civil rights enforcement and the central role that the Court plays in our democracy, the Lawyers’ Committee has long reviewed the record of nominees to the Court to determine if the nominee demonstrates views that are consistent with the core civil rights principles for which the organization has long advocated.
In its report, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law expresses grave concerns regarding various aspects of Judge Barrett’s record including the following:
- Judge Barrett’s predisposition to side with employers over workers. Two of Judge Barrett’s cases include a failure to appreciate an employer’s obvious violation of Title VII in EEOC v. AutoZone, where the company was permitted to continue racially segregating its Black and Hispanic employees into separate stores, and Smith v. Illinois Department of Transportation, holding that an African-American traffic patrol driver failed to establish that he was fired in retaliation for his complaints of racial bias by his coworkers.
- Judge Barrett called the Miranda doctrine, which can result in the exclusion of evidence if a confession is made in the absence of a warning of the right to remain silent, an example of “the court’s choice to over-enforce a constitutional norm” that goes beyond constitutional meaning and that the Miranda warnings “inevitably exclude from evidence even some confessions freely given.” Judge Barrett’s disregard for procedural constitutional protections for people accused of committing crimes will lead to a chipping away of constitutional rights and have a detrimental effect on the criminal justice system.
- Given her views on the doctrine of stare decisis, Judge Barrett could overturn landmark rulings that have guaranteed civil rights for all in cases such as Brown v. Board of Education, Griswold v. Connecticut, Roe v. Wade, and Obergefell v. Hodges.
Clarke also observed that “the timing of Judge Barrett’s nomination is simply unprecedented, marking the first time a nominee has been put forth in the middle of an ongoing general election in which millions of Americans have already cast their ballots. The politicized nature of Judge Barrett’s nomination stands to undermine public confidence and faith in the Supreme Court for years to come.”
A copy of the report issued by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law can be found here.