Tue. Jul 23rd, 2024

She cemented a conservative Supreme Court, but a ‘cautious’ Justice Barrett sometimes resists the far-right flank

By 37ci3 Jul1,2024



WASHINGTON — Conservative Justice Amy Coney Barrett lost patience with a right-wing story last week that the Biden administration illegally forced social media companies to remove politically charged content.

While drafting the judgment of the Supreme Court sued Brought by Republican-led states and several disgruntled social media users, Barrett took aim at the frivolous nature of the lawsuits, the lower courts that accepted them and several conservative colleagues.

Conservative Justice Samuel Alito heard the case, though Barrett criticized forensically how the plaintiffs failed to substantiate their claims that content moderation decisions were unlawfully influenced by the Biden administration and criticized the federal judge for reaching “clearly erroneous” conclusions. through a more ideological lens.

He wrote a dissenting opinion joined by two other conservatives, Justice Clarence Thomas and Justice Neil Gorsuch, in which he substantiated the plaintiffs’ claims and concluded that the Biden administration’s actions were “clearly unconstitutional.”

Barrett told Alito in a series of lengthy comments, including that he “drew connections” between the government’s conduct and content moderation decisions that the plaintiffs themselves did not make to get to the heart of the case.

The decision and several other recent cases show that Barrett, one of three former President Donald Trump’s nine justices appointed to the court, is reluctant to allow the more extreme arguments that sometimes reach the court. She replaced Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg after the liberal icon’s death in September 2020, joining the court at a tumultuous time as Republicans scrambled to fill the seat in the weeks before Trump lost the election.

“I think people will look at Justice Barrett in 10 or 15 years and say, ‘I may not agree with him all the time, but he’s very principled and very careful,'” said arguing attorney William Jay. cases in court. He added that some of his recent votes show he is more concerned than some of his colleagues about the “ordered procedure” that reflects some of his academic interests.

On the social media issue, Alito was “more willing to reach out to get to the bottom of the legal question,” while Barrett, a former University of Notre Dame law professor, “was more cautious,” said Jonathan Adler, a professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Law.

“What we’ve seen in some cases is a degree of judicial deference in terms of how much he’s willing to disclose, how aggressively he’s willing to change the law, or how aggressively he’s willing to intervene,” Adler said.

In some cases, including Wednesday’s ruling, Barrett joined conservatives Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh in forming a bloc in the middle of the court, which has a 6-3 conservative majority. If that group votes with three liberal justices, Thomas, Alito and Gorsuch could be out.

This dynamic was also demonstrated during the court’s Thursday dismissed the major abortion case without making a decision, Barrett agreed with the result and was the primary voice explaining why.

He explained in a unanimous opinion that the court acted too hastily in hearing the case before the legal arguments of both sides had been proven.

“It was a miscalculation,” he wrote.

Thomas, Alito and Gorsuch challenged the court’s refusal to take up the case. (So ​​did liberal Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, but for different reasons.)

Barrett drew attention in another case Thursday, when he joined three liberal justices in dissenting from the court’s ruling. A large air pollution inhibits regulation.

He criticized his conservative colleagues for plunging into “a factually intensive and highly technical case without fully engaging with both the relevant law and the voluminous records.”

Barrett was also on the opposite side of the other five conservatives Friday’s rulingas the court narrowed the scope of the obstruction statute used by the Justice Department to prosecute those involved in the January 6 attack on the US Capitol.

Unlike the majority, which included Jackson, Barrett concluded that the legal question “seems open and shut” in favor of prosecutors.

However, Barrett’s voting record makes it clear that he remains a solid member of the court’s conservative majority in important cases.

In 2022, the court ruled in Roe v. He voted to restrict abortion rights when he overturned the lawsuit against Wade. Last year, he voted to end affirmative action in college admissions.

In the past few days, he joined a conservative majority in a victory backed by two businesses in which the court doubled down on the power of federal agencies to regulate companies.

The Supreme Court held a 6-3 majority in four cases nearing the end of its nine-month term on Monday, including whether to prosecute Trump for trying to overturn the 2020 election. According to statistics guru Adam Feldman, nine times over that period along ideological lines.

While he may occasionally split with Thomas, Alito and Gorsuch, he has sided with them about 80% of the time this term, he added.

“He’s very clearly on the conservative side of the court,” said Elizabeth Wydra, president of the liberal Center for Constitutional Accountability. “The fact that his tone seems more moderate is a reflection of how conservative the court has become.”



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By 37ci3

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