RBG Replacements This Week’s Hot Topic, Get to Know the Top Contenders

WASHINGTON, D.C. –  So, unless you’ve been living deep underground, in outer space, or, perhaps, on a ship adrift in the middle of the ocean, you have heard the long-serving Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away on Saturday after a long battle with pancreatic cancer.

As President Donald Trump said of RBG, she led an amazing life. May she rest in peace, and may her family find comfort in the love and experiences they shared here on earth.

The harsh reality is that that peace will not be found around the nation’s capital; RBG’s passing adds another big log to the burning fire that is 2020. The vacant seat must now be filled, and the notion of Trump replacing the most progressive justice the court has likely ever seen with one of his top contenders is already driving the Left mad.

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With President Trump expected to announce his pick on Friday, who is most likely to be the nominee? It will very likely be a woman, the president said, and a younger one that can serve on the high court for decades.

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There seem to be two top contenders: Amy Coney Barret and Barbara Lagoa.

The most common name on people’s lips is Amy Cone Barrett.

From SCOTUS Blog:

“[…] The 46-year-old Barrett grew up in Metairie, Louisiana, a suburb of New Orleans, and attended St. Mary’s Dominican High School, a Catholic girls’ school in New Orleans. Barrett graduated magna cum laude from Rhodes College, a liberal arts college in Tennessee affiliated with the Presbyterian Church, in 1994. (Other high-profile alumni of the school include Abe Fortas, who served as a justice on the Supreme Court from 1965 to 1969 and Claudia Kennedy, the first woman to become a three-star general in the U.S. Army.) At Rhodes, she was a member of Phi Beta Kappa and was also recognized as the most outstanding English major and for having the best senior thesis.

After graduating from Rhodes, Barrett went to law school at Notre Dame on a full-tuition scholarship. She excelled there as well: She graduated summa cum laude in 1997, received awards for having the best exams in 10 of her courses and served as executive editor of the school’s law review.

Barrett then held two high-profile conservative clerkships, first with Judge Laurence Silberman of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, from 1997-1998 then with the late Justice Antonin Scalia, from 1998-1999. After leaving her Supreme Court clerkship, she spent a year practicing law at Miller, Cassidy, Larroca & Lewin, a prestigious Washington D.C. litigation boutique that also claims former U.S. solicitor general Seth Waxman, former deputy attorney general Jamie Gorelick, and two regular contributors to this blog – John Elwood and editor Edith Roberts – as alums. Barrett went to Baker Botts, a Texas-based firm, after Miller Cassidy merged with the larger law firm, in 2000 and spent another year there before leaving for academia. To the chagrin of Democratic senators during her confirmation process, Barrett was only able to recall a few of the cases on which she had worked, and she indicated that she had not argued any appeals while in private practice.

Barrett spent a year as a law and economics fellow at George Washington University before heading to her alma mater, Notre Dame, in 2002 to teach federal courts, constitutional law and statutory interpretation. Barrett was named a professor of law at the school in 2010; four years later, she became the Diane and M.O. Research Chair of Law. Barrett twice received a “distinguished professor of the year” award, in 2010 and 2016.

While at Notre Dame, Barrett signed a 2012 “statement of protest” condemning the accommodation that the Obama administration created for religious employers who were subject to the ACA’s “birth control” mandate. The statement lamented that the accommodation “changes nothing of moral substance and fails to remove the assault on individual liberty and the rights of conscience which gave rise to the controversy.” Barrett was also a member of the Federalist Society, the conservative legal group, from 2005 to 2006 and then again from 2014 to 2017. In response to written questions from Democratic senators during her 7th Circuit confirmation process, Barrett indicated that she had rejoined the group because it gave her “the opportunity to speak to groups of interested, engaged students on topics of mutual interest,” but she added that she had never attended the group’s national convention.

The best insight into how Barrett might rule as a Supreme Court justice likely comes from her academic scholarship, an area in which she has been prolific. The Washington Post reported on Saturday that Trump wants a nominee with a “portfolio of solid academic writing,” and Barrett (perhaps more than any other nominee on the reported shortlist) fits that bill to a tee. Several of those articles, however, drew fire at Barrett’s 7th Circuit confirmation hearing, with Democratic senators suggesting that they indicate that Barrett would be influenced by her Catholic faith, particularly on the question of abortion. […]”

You can learn more about Barrett’s legal scholarship here.

Barbara Lagoa, another relatively young jurist, is a Cuban-American whose parents escaped that nation upon the advent of Fidel Castro’s communist revolution. Regarding that history, Lagia has said:

“In the country my parents fled, the whim of a single individual could mean the difference between food or hunger, liberty or prison, life or death. Unlike the country my parents fled, we are a nation of laws, not of men.”

From a conservative perspective, a core understanding and appreciation of the American idea and the system of justice that extends from that is often seated firmly in those who have been subject to its opposite.

Lagoa, a member of the Federalist Society who served on the Florida Supreme Court and is now  U.S. Federal Appeals Court Judge on the 11th Circuit, would be the second Latina to join the high court, if she were nominated and confirm.

More on Lagoa:

“[Lagoa] received her Bachelor of Arts cum laude in 1989 from Florida International University where she majored in English and was a member of the Phi Kappa Phi honor society. Justice Lagoa received her Juris Doctor from Columbia University School of Law in 1992, where she served as an Associate Editor of the Columbia Law Review. She is fluent in English and Spanish.

On January 9, 2019, she became the first Latina and the first Cuban American woman appointed to serve on the Florida Supreme Court.  Prior to her appointment by Governor Ron DeSantis to the Florida Supreme Court, Governor Jeb Bush appointed her in June of 2006 to serve on the Third District Court of Appeal.  At that court, she became the first Hispanic woman and the first Cuban American woman appointed to serve on the Third District Court of Appeal.  On January 1, 2019, she became the first Hispanic female Chief Judge of the Third District Court of Appeal.

Prior to joining the bench, Justice Lagoa practiced in both the civil and criminal arenas. Her civil practice at Greenberg Traurig focused on general and complex commercial litigation, particularly the areas of employment discrimination, business torts, securities litigation, construction litigation, and insurance coverage disputes. In 2003, she joined the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida as an Assistant United States Attorney, where she worked in the Civil, Major Crimes and Appellate Sections. As an Assistant United States Attorney, she tried numerous criminal jury trials, including drug conspiracies and Hobbs Act violations. She also handled a significant number of appeals.

While a practicing lawyer, Justice Lagoa was admitted to The Florida Bar, the United States District Courts for the Middle and Southern Districts of Florida, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. She was also a member of many local, state, and national professional groups including the Dade County Bar Association, and the Florida Association for Women Lawyers.

Justice Lagoa’s civic and community activities include service on the Board of Directors for the YWCA of Greater Miami and Dade County, the Film Society of Miami, Kristi House, and the FIU Alumni Association. She was also a member of the Federal Judicial Nominating Commission. She is currently a member of the Eugene P. Spellman and William Hoeveler Chapter of the American Inns of Court.

Justice Lagoa is married to Paul C. Huck, Jr., an attorney. They have three daughters. Justice Lagoa left the Florida Supreme Court on December 6, 2019, when she received her commission as a judge on the U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals based in Atlanta from President Donald Trump. […]”

There is also a North Carolinian reportedly on the short list: Allison Jones Rushing.

Now, this is 2020, so there is no telling what could happen between now and the end of the week. Rest assured, however, that the next week and months will be just as dramatic (and more so) than you could ever have imagined in 2019.

Lastly, this is another reminder to make sure to research all the judicial positions we will be voting on in December, from district judges, to the N.C. Supreme Court (which is 6-1 Democrat). The importance of seating originalist judges cannot be overstated in an era where the very idea of individual liberty has been under attack from Pandemic Panic policies to the collectivism of Woke social justice warriors.

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