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Trump Offered Barrett Seat Three Days After Ginsburg Died (1)

Sept. 29, 2020, 11:38 PM

President Donald Trump offered Amy Coney Barrett a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court on Sept. 21, three days after Ruth Bader Ginsburg died, according to a Senate questionnaire.

“The President offered me the nomination on that day, and I accepted, subject to finalizing the vetting process,” Barrett said in answers to the Senate Judiciary Committee questionnaire released Tuesday.

Coney was contacted on Sept. 19 by White House Counsel Pat Cipollone and Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, Barrett said. She spoke to both again the next day and Meadows invited her to Washington, an invitation Trump “later called to confirm,” Coney said.

The new questionnaire released Tuesday builds on the one she submitted to the committee for her confirmation to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in 2017, adding her three years of experience as a judge. The questionnaire acts as an official transcript for lawmakers to review prior to her Senate Judiciary hearings.

The document also reveals her net worth is about $2.6 million.

Barrett said she ended her membership in the conservative legal group, the Federalist Society, the year she joined Chicago-based federal appeals court. Ending membership in the group isn’t required as a judge. Justice Brett Kavanaugh, for example, was a current member when he was nominated to the Supreme Court as a judge on the D.C.-based appeals court.

But just because she isn’t a member doesn’t mean she’s not still involved in the group. Her financial disclosure for 2019 noted four occasions where she had spoken at Federalist Society events and was reimbursed by the group.

Republicans have outlined an aggressive timeline for Barrett’s confirmation process that would put a floor vote on her nomination just before the election. Confirmation hearings are scheduled to start Oct. 12, leaving just 13 days from Barrett’s official nomination Sept. 29 for senators and their staff to prepare for what will certainly be a fierce battle.

The questionnaire also comes as the White House sent Barrett’s formal nomination to the Senate Tuesday and Republican senators began meeting with the nominee.

Judicial History

The Senate questionnaire requires, among other things, nominees to list citations for all opinions the nominee has written including opinions and dissents. Barrett’s new document includes significant rulings on issues like gun rights and qualified immunity that may come up at her confirmation hearings.

One of those cases is Kanter v. Barr, a second amendment case suggesting she’d be a reliable vote to strike down gun restrictions. Dissenting from the other judges on the Seventh Circuit, Barrett wrote that a nonviolent felon’s right to possess a firearm is within the scope of the Second Amendment.

‘Looking to the Founding-era history, I explained that legislatures have the power to prohibit dangerous people from possessing guns, but that power extends only to people who are dangerous, not to nonviolent felons like Mr. Kanter,” Coney Barrett wrote in here questionnaire.

She also lists immigration cases that show she has an expansive view of executive power. For instance, in Cook County v. Wolf, the court invalidated the Trump administration’s “public charge” rule, establishing what critics call a wealth test for potential green card holders.

Coney Barrett dissented. The Trump administration’s rule “is a reasonable interpretation of the leeway that Congress gave the agency,” her questionnaire said.

The list also includes a diverse set of opinions on criminal law and qualified immunity, in which she’s sided with police and with defendants. And a case in which she revived a lawsuit by a Purdue student who was found guilty of sexual assault. The plaintiff “had adequately alleged that the University used fundamentally unfair procedures in determining his guilt, and had adequately alleged sex bias in his particular case,” the questionnaire said.

It also references her writings from when she was a law professor Notre Dame, which underscored her originalist, texualist approach to the law, a conservative legal philosophy that prioritizes original intent of the Constitution or statute.

—With assistance from Perry Cooper

To contact the reporters on this story: Madison Alder in Washington at malder@bloomberglaw.com; Kimberly Strawbridge Robinson in Washington at krobinson@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Seth Stern at sstern@bloomberglaw.com; John Crawley at jcrawley@bloomberglaw.com

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