Amy Coney Barrett did not disclose anti-abortion advert in Senate Judiciary Committee paperwork, report says

Democratic committee aides reportedly maintained signature should have been included

Louise Hall
Tuesday 06 October 2020 22:50
Donald Trump unveils Supreme Court pick Amy Coney Barrett

Judge Amy Coney Barrett did not disclose her participation in an anti-abortion advert calling for the overturning of Roe v Wade in her paperwork to the Senate Judiciary Committee, according to a report.

Two Democratic committee aides told NBC News that the advert was not disclosed in the Senate forms required of judicial nominees and maintained that it should have been.

The two-page ad, published in The South Bend Tribune of Indiana, included Judge Barrett’s name in a list of more than 1,200 and branded the ruling in 1973 that declared a nationwide constitutional right to abortion “barbaric”.

“The ad should have been included in Judge Barrett’s Senate Judiciary Questionnaire and was not,” one of the two aides told NBC News under the condition of anonymity.

A White House spokesman told the broadcaster that because Judge Barrett did not write or edit the advertisement, it did not fall within the scope of the questionnaire.

“As Judge Barrett said on the day she was nominated, ‘A judge must apply the law as written. Judges are not policymakers, and they must be resolute in setting aside any policy views they might hold,'" White House spokesperson Judd Deere told The Independent.

Donald Trump announced on 27 September that he is nominating Judge Barrett to take the seat of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, an abortion-rights supporter who died last month.

Victoria Nourse, a professor at Georgetown Law, who was nominated to the 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals by Barack Obama, told NBC News that in her experience the process was very strict and she believes Judge Barrett should have included the information.

“She should have disclosed it,” Prof Nourse said. “In my experience, I would have had to do it.”  

“You’re supposed to give anything you have on the internet and all of your endorsements,”  Prof Nourse added.

The advert was part of a two-page spread that ran in conjunction with the anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe v Wade ruling.

The unsigned page of the ad read: “It’s time to put an end to the barbaric legacy of Roe v Wade and restore laws that protect the lives of unborn children.”

The South Bend Tribune provided a copy of the ad, dated 21 January 2006, to The Associated Press. The Guardian first reported the existence of the ad.

Ms Barrett's strict Catholicism and staunch conservative ideology have worried Democrats that the judge may seek to overturn the US ruling that allows legal abortions. The advert appears to be the most direct expression of Barrett’s opposition to abortion.

She has voted at least twice on abortion issues as an appellate judge, both times joining dissenting opinions to decisions in favor of abortion rights.

Mr Trump said this week that it is "certainly possible" that Judge Barrett, could rule in favor of overturning the ruling.

“She is certainly conservative in her views, in her rulings, and we’ll have to see how that all works out, but I think it will work out,” Mr Trump said.

Additional reporting by the Associated Press

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