A conservative icon should replace a figure of progressivism at the Supreme Court of the United States in a few weeks. The name of Amy Coney Barrett, unveiled Saturday, September 26 at the end of a false suspense intended to perk up the American right to a little more than six weeks of the presidential election, did not surprise anyone.
Appointments to the highest legal body have escaped the often chaotic march of the White House. And for good reason. They were contracted out to the main organization of conservative jurists, the Federalist Society, which took charge of establishing the lists of judges considered safe.
The life and journey of Amy Coney Barrett, 48, made her a prime candidate to become the first woman appointed by Donald Trump, the second by a Republican president since Sandra O’Connor, chosen by Ronald Reagan in 1981. She displays as a lawyer strong credentials.
A recognized law professor at Notre Dame Catholic University (Indiana), she worked with a conservative judge at the District of Columbia Court of Appeal, the most prestigious in the country, then in the shadow of Antonin Scalia , fervent defender at the Supreme Court until his death in 2016, of an originalist conception of the Constitution which proscribes the most liberal interpretations in the Anglo-Saxon sense. His only weakness is the brevity of his experience in the court of appeal, the ordinary antechamber of the Supreme Court. Appointed in 2017 to that of the seventh circuit competent for the states of Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin, she therefore spent only three years.
Her personal career reinforces her image as a curator. A practicing Catholic, she brings up with her husband, also a lawyer, seven children, including two Haitians adopted by the couple. Their last child is affected by a trisomy detected during pregnancy. Amy Coney Barrett is a member of a small charismatic community independent of the Catholic Church, People of Praise, which notably practices glossolalia, “speaking in tongues”, which defines the fact for its members, inspired by the Holy Spirit, to speak in an incomprehensible manner.
This religious practice was at the origin of a pass of arms with Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein (California) upon her confirmation as a judge at the Court of Appeal, which immediately made her an icon for the religious right. “Dogma lives noisily in you, it is a cause for concern”, had estimated the latter. The conservatives were outraged at what they considered to be a form of intolerance, an illustration of the “War” lent to the Democrats against the “Religious freedom” that Donald Trump claims to defend.
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