September 17, 2021

Justice Amy Coney Barrett fights back against perception of SCOTUS as partisan body

Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett on Sunday voiced alarm over what she believes is an increasing – albeit inaccurate – public perception that she and her colleagues are driven by partisan political motives and not principled jurisprudence, as the Washington Times reports.

During a lecture delivered at the University of Louisville’s McConnell Center, Barrett declared her belief that all those in her position need to remain “hyper vigilant to make sure they’re not letting personal biases creep into their decisions, since judges are people, too.”

Further, Barrett lamented the propensity of mainstream media outlets to portray rulings handed down by the high court in an overly political light and their failure to articulate the deliberative mechanisms at work in rendering them, emphasizing that “judicial philosophies are not the same as political parties.”

Barrett continued, pointing out the flaws inherent in much of the media’s coverage of the high court, noting that “to say the court’s reasoning is flawed is different from saying the court is acting in a partisan manner.”

As the Louisville Courier Journal reported, Barrett told her listeners, “My goal today is to convince you that this court is not comprised of a bunch of partisan hacks,” insisting, “Sometimes I don’t like the results of my decisions. But it’s not my job to decide cases based on the outcome I want,” pushing back against those – especially on the left – who argue that recent decisions such one permitting strict Texas abortion restrictions to stand are due to political biases and nothing more.

Interestingly, Barrett was not the only member of the high court to speak out publicly about the problem of perceived partisanship on the bench, with liberal Justice Stephen Breyer appearing on Fox News Sunday to provide words of caution to those on the left who want to re-shape the court to further their political aims, as The Hill noted.

The octogenarian jurist – who has been the target of progressive activists demanding he step down while President Joe Biden can nominate his replacement – took the opportunity to warn against the court-packing initiatives that have gained increased attention from far-left advocacy groups.

“What goes around comes around. And if the Democrats can do it, the Republicans can do it,” Breyer cautioned regarding the cynical push to add seats to the high court in order to negate the 6-3 conservative majority currently in place.

Earlier this year, Breyer also expressed his own skepticism about packing the court to achieve ideological ends, saying “It is wrong to think of the Court as another political institution…and it is doubly wrong to think of its members as junior league politicians,” a sentiment with which his newest colleague at the Supreme Court would surely agree.

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