Amy Coney Barrett shoots down critics: Conservative justices are not ‘partisan hacks’; they follow the Constitution

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Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett rebuked critics on Tuesday who argue the now conservative-leaning top court is making judicial decisions based on partisan politics.

Progressive lawmakers and media figures slammed the court last week after it declined to block a pro-life Texas law banning abortions after roughly six weeks’ gestation in a 5-4 vote.

“My goal today is to convince you that this court is not comprised of a bunch of partisan hacks,” Barrett told guests during a speech in Kentucky on Sunday, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal.

The justice was speaking at the 30th anniversary celebration of the opening of the McConnell Center at the University of Louisville, named after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.)

“Judicial philosophies are not the same as political parties,” she explained, noting that disagreement on the court is driven not by political differences, necessarily, but by clashes between two main schools of thought.

Barrett, a conservative Catholic who has taught law at Notre Dame, said she identifies as an “originalist” while others on the court, such as Justice Stephen Breyer, are representative of the other mains school of thought, “pragmatism.”

In short, originalists believe that legal texts, including the Constitution, should be interpreted based on the original understanding at the time it was adopted. Pragmatists, on the other hand, believe the Constitution to be a dynamic “living” document, in need of evolving interpretation.

Barrett, in obvious reference to the backlash against the court’s refusal to block the Texas fetal heartbeat abortion ban, argued that the media often unfairly portrays the Supreme Court as partisan or covers it in a divisive way.

“The media, along with hot takes on Twitter, report the results and decisions. … That makes the decision seem results-oriented. It leaves the reader to judge whether the court was right or wrong, based on whether she liked the results of the decision,” she said.

“[But] here’s the thing: Sometimes, I don’t like the results of my decisions,” the justice added. “But it’s not my job to decide cases based on the outcome I want.”

McConnell, who was reportedly in attendance at the event, praised the court for not trying to “legislate from the bench.”

During her Senate confirmation hearings last year, Democratic opponents and progressive women’s rights activists attacked Barrett’s personal beliefs and warned that her views on abortion could lead the court to overturn Roe v. Wade, The Hill reported.

“I have an agenda to stick to the rule of law and decide cases as they come,” Barrett said at the time.

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