Ed Whelan points out that in 2017, every Supreme Court law clerk who served the same term (October Term 1998) that Amy Coney Barrett clerked for Justice Scalia signed a letter supporting her nomination to the Seventh Circuit. The signatories hailed Barrett as a “woman of remarkable intellect and character,” as someone who “conducted herself with professionalism, grace, and integrity” and “was able to work collaboratively with her colleagues (even those with whom she disagreed) on challenging legal questions,” and as “smart, honorable, and fair-minded.”
Among those who signed this glowing tribute to Barrett were Stanford law school dean Jennifer Martinez, Harvard law professor Noah Feldman, Yale law professor Oona Hathaway, and Stanford law professor Jeffrey Fisher.
This doesn’t mean that President Trump should nominate Barrett for the Supreme Court vacancy. There are other very strong candidates who deserve consideration, too. Some of them are men.
Nor does the letter mean that all of the signatories will, or should, back Barrett for the Court if she is nominated. Nowadays, it’s legitimate to oppose Supreme Court nominees solely on ideological grounds. Moreover, as Ed notes, the letter is crafted to endorse Barrett only for the appellate bench.
Still, the letter is noteworthy. It shows that Barrett has the intellect, character, professionalism, collegiality, and fair mindedness one wants in a Supreme Court Justice.
Barrett isn’t in step with the ideological preferences of some who signed the 2017 letter. But she is in step with President Trump’s views and, I think, with the views of a majority of current U.S. Senators.