Government Watchdog Releases Searchable Database of Amy Coney Barrett’s Seventh Circuit Court Decisions
In Rushed Confirmation Process, Public Still Just Scratching the Surface of Barrett’s Full Record
WASHINGTON, D.C. — As Senate Republicans rush their Supreme Court nominee through committee and to a floor vote, the public and lawmakers tasked with evaluating Amy Coney Barrett’s fitness for a lifetime spot on the high court are still learning crucial details about the nominee’s actual record.
To aid in efforts toward increased transparency, government watchdog Accountable.US released its comprehensive database, “The Barrett Files,” today outlining the more than 600 cases in Barrett’s judicial record from her time serving on the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals from 2017 to 2020. The database includes — and is searchable by — case title, decision date, Barrett’s ruling, and a brief description of the case.
“As Trump’s Senate allies attempt to rush their Supreme Court nominee through at the 11th hour, lawmakers and the American people are still in the dark about Barrett’s judicial history,” said Accountable.US President Kyle Herrig.
“A host of records from Barrett’s time at Notre Dame remain unavailable to the public, and though new details about Barrett have been slowly bubbling to the surface, so much information about her history is still being hidden. Without the background of these records, it is impossible for anyone to make a fully informed decision about Barrett’s fitness to serve on the Supreme Court. No votes should be cast on Barrett’s nomination until her full record is known.”
Within these 600+ Seventh Circuit cases, major decisions providing greater perspective on Barrett’s record have yet to be vetted and laid out in a public forum. For example, Barrett weighed in on the following cases:
- Amy Coney Barrett Ruled In Favor Of Wisconsin Republicans Who Stripped The Governor’s Power During A Lame Duck Session. Barrett joined a decision which dismissed an appeal from the Wisconsin Democratic Party against Republican state legislators who had stripped powers from the offices of governor and attorney general after Democrats won those offices during the 2018 election. The Wisconsin Democratic Party sued the legislators for violations of the First Amendment, the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause, and the Guarantee Clause, but a district court held that the lawsuit didn’t point to “‘concrete harms’” and “‘raised only nonjusticiable political questions.’”
- Amy Coney Barrett Ruled Against A Woman Whose IUD Broke Inside Her Body — A Problem Reported To The FDA Over 1600 Times. Barrett wrote the 7th Circuit’s majority opinion for Cheryl Dalton v. Teva North America, et al., an appeal from a woman who sued the pharmaceutical giant after one of its Intrauterine Devices (IUDs) broke inside her uterus. Cheryl Dalton, who needed a hysterectomy in order to fully remove the defective device, didn’t rely on expert testimony in her district court lawsuit because she argued it should have been “within the understanding of a layperson that an IUD should not break into pieces while inside a patient.” The district court ruled against Dalton due to the lack of expert testimony, and Barrett’s opinion affirmed that judgment, contrasting it against a case where a plaintiff injured by a car didn’t need expert input.
- Amy Coney Barrett Voted to Deport A Man Whose Mother Is A U.S. Citizen Due To An Odd Technicality, Even Though The Man Had Lived In The United States For 30 Years. Barrett was on the panel of 7th Circuit judges who denied a stay of removal for Ruben Lopez Ramos, a lawful permanent resident in the U.S. for thirty years before the Trump administration ordered him removed in 2018. Ramos was only deemed removable due to “an odd, arguably irrational, conundrum” where he was denied citizenship despite having a mother who was born in the U.S. Under this conundrum–created by two repealed laws that still applied to Ramos–he actually would have been granted citizenship if his mother had not been a citizen. Nonetheless, Barrett refused to stay Ramos’ removal, despite his valid argument that this unusual set of circumstances violated the equal protection aspect of the Fifth Amendment’s due process clause.
This past weekend, revelations of Barrett voting to overturn a ruling to award damages to a victim of sexual assault came to light. And, today, The Root reported Barrett’s support in a case to grant qualified immunity to a police officer who contributed to the death of a Black teenager under his custody who had repeatedly claimed he could not breathe.
Reports of those horrifying cases followed an in-depth analysis of Barrett’s Seventh Circuit decisions by Accountable.US, which showed that she overwhelmingly ruled in favor of corporations and law enforcement and against workers, consumer, immigrants, and those alleging harm in relevant cases. With so little of Barrett’s record readily available to the public, it is likely that there are yet even more examples of her callous decisions
With the Senate Judiciary Committee scheduled to vote on Barrett’s nomination on Thursday, several requests for records by Accountable.US and other watchdog groups concerning Barrett’s history, as well as a letter to Barrett asking her to allow for the release of documents by Notre Dame College, where she was employed for fifteen years, remain unanswered.
Browse the full database here.