Saturday, September 26, 2020

'Amy Coney Barrett Was My Law School Professor'

Lifted from the comments, "Perry Mason" writes:

 I'm mostly optimistic that Amy would be a decent to quite good jurist, as the realistic pool of candidates goes anyway. I knew her personally as she was my professor in law school for two years (I even got the highest grade in one of them). I can candidly say there were better professors at the time--and in a few cases--who exhibited more erudite legal minds and a greater understanding of (or interest in?) fundamental principles of Anglosphere jurisprudence and its intersection with Christendom and Western traditions. That said, she was good as a professor and would be a credit to any school.

I don't necessarily see Amy as a natural thought leader against the zeitgeist, like a Clarence Thomas. This is not an insult, as most of us are not. At the time, Amy came off to me as more the very smart student that excels at the technocrat aspects of the law and enjoys all the "legislative puzzles" that litigators must face, but didn't explore much of the philosophical, moral and religious dimensions beyond mainstream ground where many others have tread.

I don't want to sound unfair because honestly, I have read very little of her work and am judging from classroom materials, lectures and the experience of my peers. I do know she takes her Catholicism and Christian calling very seriously, so she will not be easily exploited by the deep state, and she is not connected in any way to the shadowy networks of the New World Order (i.e. she's just a smart normie).

Lastly, she did surprise on occasion and exhibited some uplifting virtue in her personal life. If I had to guess, she could become influenced by one of the other conservatives on the court and perhaps grow in that role, starting as a follower but maybe branching out from there. However, there could be a countervailing temptation (she will be in DC) to be the "smart student" on the court and show her technical chops and "peacemaking" neutrality; which unfortunately means her rulings may be too slavish to pro-government precedent on less "personal" matters (such as economic ones), as she dazzles through the logic puzzles presented by confounding, ambiguous and contradictory legislation and decisions.

But I'm reasonably hopeful she will be a net positive on the court for liberty and be superior to Chief Justice Roberts and the liberal wing (and perhaps others!). But people should set their expectations; unless we get a lot more Justice Thomases, the Court at best will stem the tide and slow down the advance of progressivism, but it isn't stopping to unwinding it.


  1. "I will be mindful of who came before me." Doesn't sound very reassuring to me!

  2. "I will be mindful of who came before me." Doesn't sound very reassuring to me!

  3. I guess this is all Trump has to work with this as this moment. At least the left can't pull out some aging wine box hobgoblin to make unprovable accusations. And she is a woman, so maybe Trump can play the leftist canard against them if they criticize her.

    The founders really fucked up with this Supreme Court institution.

  4. Lab Manager, yes they did. There are probably other judges (like the Judge that recently overruled Covid restrictions) that might be better picks; and I personally was hoping for a former Thomas clerk rather than one from abetter of federal power Scalia.

    The ambiguity of the Supreme Court allowed it to arrogate itself to be the final arbiter of all orders, above the other branches of govenrment, in one of its earliest and most famous cases. I think the framers envisioned more of a stalemate that could be created between the Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches. But as Rothbard has taught (and Hoppe and others), the separation of powers may have been a noble experiment inspired by the legend of Ciceronian Rome, but the powers are all still the same government. They aren't sovereign jurisdictions that must negotiate with one another for co-existence.

    I am glad RW is reporting on Amy and exploring her career. Other prominent libertarian haunts (Lew, Reason, etc.) haven't gone into much if any depth yet. The pro-life groups are thrilled, but if I had to guess, she's unlikely to fully overturn Planned Parenthood v. Casey unless the conservatives really get to her. I think she will be tempted to be the smart jurist (with feminist overtones, because Woman) in DC that "respects" the precedent and instead rules in favor of new restrictions on abortion, as a milquetoast compromise. But maybe she will surprise and see the wisdom of deferring to the States on such a contentious issue. I really don't know for sure. These appointments can really go to someone's head if they don't keep their feet so to speak.