UPDATE: Empirical SCOTUS has published a broad examination of Judge Barrett’s decision-making while on the Court of Appeals. SCOTUSBlog has also published a series of articles on her jurisprudence in specific areas. Because this summary is more specific than the former (analysing specific cases) and further-reaching than the latter (specifically including cases that do not appear significant) I will continue to update it.
As you are surely aware, President Donald Trump has nominated Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court of the United States. Lists of her judicial opinions have therefore been released by SCOTUSblog and the Congressional Research Service. To the best of my knowledge, these cases have not yet been summarised in a manner that is available to the public. I have therefore endeavoured to do so. The summary is accessible through the links below. I’ve tried to write in a manner that is comprehensible to non-lawyers and, where not obvious, to explain the impact of a decision on the parties. I have not tried to explain the law or analyse whether Judge Barrett’s decision was correct.
This is not a complete summary of Judge Barrett’s cases. Rather, this is a summary of the cases in the above lists. Those lists are far from exhaustive, because they only include judicial opinions for which Judge Barrett is listed as the author. They do not include per curiam opinions to which Judge Barrett contributed, such as Grussgott v. Milwaukee Jewish Day School, which Judge Barrett listed as the sixth most significant decision she wrote. [2020 Questionnaire at 42-43] They do not include decisions that Judge Barrett chose to join but did not write, which may reveal as much of her judicial philosophy as those she did (often on highly contentious issues, such as abortion). While I may include some such cases when they are brought to my attention, I have neither the time nor the money to find all (or even most) of those cases.
Similarly, this is not a thorough examination of the cases on which Judge Barrett ruled. Generally, I have not read the briefs or underlying opinions, so I have had to accept the author’s characterisation of the facts and law. When I have read part of a case document, I have not necessarily read all of it. I describe the facts as they effectively were for the court’s decision, which also may not accurately reflect what happened. I hope that these summaries will enable more knowledgeable lawyers to identify significant cases and research them more thoroughly.
I hope to have summarised all the opinions by the beginning of the confirmation hearings on the 12th of October. In the likely event that I fail, I would like to remind you that these hearings are being held with unusual (I dare say excessive) haste. Of the past four nominations to the Supreme Court, the shortest period from nomination to confirmation hearings was 48 days. (Justice Sotomayor was nominated on 26 May, hearings began on 13 July; Justice Gorsuch was nominated on 31 January, hearings began on 20 March.) The period from Judge Barrett’s nomination (26 September) to the first day of hearings (12 October) is only 16 days.
As you have probably inferred, I am not a native of the United States. I assure you that I am a properly trained and qualified U.S. lawyer. Nevertheless, I will be using my preferred spelling.
Finally, I apologise to any of the case participants. I am not only bringing these events to the attention of a wider audience, I will often be doing so in a way that casts you in an unfairly negative light. Indeed, to avoid the appearance of bias, I will be trying to portray everyone as harshly as I can.
With a few exceptions, the decisions are grouped by the subject matter of the underlying lawsuit, not based on the legal issue actually addressed by the decision. This classification is at least partially arbitrary and a given decision will only be listed in one category, even if it might belong in others.
Decisions applying the First Step Act
Other criminal law decisions:
REFERENCES (excluding cases)
2020 Questionnaire: Questionnaire for Nominee to the Supreme Court
Becket Fund Brief: The brief of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty as amicus curiae in Grussgott v. Milwaukee Jewish Day School.
Bruce Order: An order by the Judicial Council of the Seventh Circuit regarding complaints against Judge Colin Bruce (Nos 07-18-90053 and 07-18-90067)
Bruce Report: A report by a Special Committee to the Judicial Council of the Seventh Circuit regarding complaints against Judge Colin Bruce (Nos 07-18-90053 and 07-18-90067)
Carter Complaint: the complaint in Carter v. City of Alton, No. 3:17-cv-00897, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois
Crowder Complaint: the complaint in Crowder v. City of Alton, No. 3:17-cv-00896, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois (essentially identical to the Carter Complaint)
Emmis Petition: A petition for rehearing, both before the panel and en banc, of the panel’s decision in Emmis Communications Corp. v. National Life Insurance Co.
Emmis Order: An order vacating the panel’s decision in Emmis Communications Corp. v. National Life Insurance Co.
O’Neal Brief: Harry O’Neal’s brief to the Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit in O’Neal v. Reilly.