Barrett to join 7th Circuit Friday

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Amy Coney Barrett will be sworn in Friday as the newest judge on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.

The Notre Dame Law School professor will fill the Indiana seat vacated when Judge John Tinder retired in 2015. She will be the first judge to join the Chicago appellate court since Judge David Hamilton filled the other Indiana seat in November 2009.

Judge Kenneth Ripple, who has taught at Notre Dame Law School since 1977, will administer the oath of office to Barrett. A formal investiture ceremony will follow at a later date.

Barrett, who has taught at Notre Dame since 2002, will keep an office at the law school and hopes to continue teaching on a part-time basis, according to dean Nell Jessup Newton. The courses Barrett has taught include constitutional law, civil procedure, federal courts and evidence.

She has been on leave this fall semester and her spring classes will be reassigned to another faculty member.

Barrett will not be required to take any courses or training programs as a part of her appointment, according to the 7th Circuit. However, she may choose to attend programs offered by the Federal Judicial Center.

Once Barrett is on the bench, she will select her own clerks and chambers assistants.Barrett was nominated by President Donald Trump and confirmed by the U.S. Senate on a 53-to-44 vote Oct. 31. Her nomination became controversial after Senate Democrats questioned Barrett’s past scholarly writings and whether she would follow precedent. Republicans countered their colleagues on the other side of the aisle were prejudiced against Barrett because of her Catholic faith.

Barrett is not the first person nominated to fill Tinder’s former seat. In January 2016, President Barack Obama nominated former Indiana Supreme Court Justice Myra Selby. However, then-Indiana Sen. Dan Coats withheld his support and she never received a hearing before the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary.

Likewise, Hamilton’s confirmation raised partisan ire. The former judge on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana was Obama’s first nomination to the federal bench. Senate Republicans tried to block him from the appellate court because of his past rulings on abortion and prayer. After many months of fighting, the Senate voted 70-to-29 to end the filibuster and then confirmed him on a 59-to-39 vote.

Hamilton went on to fill the Indiana seat that opened when Ripple took senior status in September 2008.   

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