EDITOR: Amy Coney Barrett has some power to save the Supreme Court from being viewed as just another politicized institution; to preserve greater dignity for the Court and for herself.
President Trump’s apparent view, as we have seen with his Attorney General choices, is that his appointees work for his benefit, rather than for the American people. His comments on his Supreme Court picks indicate a similar view.
Trump has made clear that he wants Barrett to be confirmed quickly so she can “do the right thing” on the Affordable Care Act, and so she will be in place to address legal challenges related to his re-election. Does anyone seriously believe that he values her independence and doesn’t expect her to side with him in those decisions?
Judge Barrett could announce, before the Senate’s final confirmation vote, that she will recuse herself from the upcoming decision on the A.C.A. and from any cases arising from the upcoming election. To demonstrate even greater independence, she could promise to recuse herself from any future cases where Trump personally, or his businesses, are a party.
Of course, Trump and many Republicans would be angered by her independence and insist that her participation is necessary. But in 2016, Republicans were willing to let the Court run for over a year with only eight justices. So, surely it could function without her for just these limited cases.
— David Roberts, via [email protected]