Notre Dame colleagues call on Amy Coney Barrett to halt Supreme Court confirmation

Eighty-eight faculty members at the University of Notre Dame have penned an open letter to colleague and Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, asking her to halt the confirmation process until after the presidential election.

The group — which does not include any instructors at Notre Dame Law School, where Barrett, 48, teaches — called on her to “take this unprecedented step” in light of three considerations.

“First, voting for the next president is already underway,” the letter read. “According to the United States Election Project, more than seven million people have already cast their ballots, and millions more are likely to vote before election day.

“The rushed nature of your nomination process, which you certainly recognize as an exercise in raw power politics, may effectively deprive the American people of a voice in selecting the next Supreme Court justice.”

Democratic lawmakers have voiced similar objections to President Trump’s decision to nominate Barrett to fill the seat of the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg just weeks before Election Day.

“Next, the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s dying wish was that her seat on the court remain open until a new president was installed,” the letter read. “Your nomination just days after Ginsburg’s death was unseemly and a repudiation of her legacy.

“Given your admiration for Justice Ginsburg, we ask that you repair the injury to her memory by calling for a pause in the nomination until the next president is seated.”

Thirdly, the group cited the overall political climate that has befallen the United States.

“Finally, your nomination comes at a treacherous moment in the United States. Our politics are consumed by polarization, mistrust, and fevered conspiracy theories,” they wrote. “You have the opportunity to offer an alternative to all that by demanding that your nomination be suspended until after the election.”

The letter closed with an acknowledgement that taking that step, should Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden win the election, could well mean the end of Barrett’s aspirations to sit on the highest court in the land.

“We’re asking a lot, we know. Should Vice-President Biden be elected, your seat on the court will almost certainly be lost,” the group wrote. “That would be painful, surely.

“Yet there is much to be gained in risking your seat,” the letter continued. “You would earn the respect of fair-minded people everywhere. You would provide a model of civic selflessness. And you might well inspire Americans of different beliefs toward a renewed commitment to the common good.”

Though Democratic lawmakers have voiced concerns about Barrett’s nomination over the timing and questions of whether she could have a role in deciding the fate of the election, her confirmation is seen as a near-inevitability in the Republican-controlled Senate.

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