Barrett: Roe not ‘super precedent,’ not entitled to automatically be upheld
WASHINGTON, D.C., October 13, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Judge Amy Coney Barrett rebuked the notion that Roe v. Wade was a “super precedent” entitled to stand without review Tuesday during cross-examination from Minnesota Democrat Sen. Amy Klobuchar over Barrett’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Klobuchar was grilling Barrett on her past writings on the subject of “super precedents.” For clarification, Barrett asked what definition of the term the senator was using, to which Klobuchar quipped, “ I might have thought someday I'd be sitting in that chair. I'm not. I'm up here, so I'm asking you.”
“Well, people use super-precedent differently,” Barrett explained. “The way it’s used in the scholarship and the way that I was using it in the article that you’re reading from was to define cases that are so well settled that no political actors and no people seriously push for their overruling.
“And I‘m answering a lot of questions about Roe, which I think indicates that Roe doesn’t fall in that category,” she noted. “And scholars across the spectrum say that doesn’t mean Roe should be overruled, but descriptively it does mean that it’s not a case that everyone has accepted.”
“Is United States v. Virginia Military, is that super-precedent?” Klobuchar followed up.
“Senator Klobuchar, if you continue to ask questions about super-precedents that aren’t on the list of the super-precedents that I discussed in the article that are well acknowledged in the constitutional law literature, every time you ask the question I will have to say that I can’t grade it,” Barrett replied.
A former Notre Dame law professor and clerk for the late conservative stalwart Justice Antonin Scalia, Barrett is widely regarded as a pro-life originalist. She was a member of Notre Dame’s Faculty for Life group; signed a number of pro-life letters and public statements in the past; and has taken the conservative and/or originalist stance in written positions on hot-button issues such as due process for sexual assault claims on college campuses, the right to bear arms, and immigration. Perhaps most encouragingly, Barrett has also written articles critical of the stare decisis doctrine, which grants weight to past rulings’ status as precedent, regardless of whether they were rightly decided.