Dozens of Open Records Requests Regarding Details of Amy Coney Barrett’s Professional Past Have Gone Unanswered
WASHINGTON, D.C. – As the Senate rushes to ram through a Supreme Court nominee for a lifetime appointment, government watchdogs Accountable.US and American Oversight called on the Senate Judiciary Committee not to hold hearings until Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s full record is made available to the public. The groups have filed several requests for records through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and similar state open records laws to shed light on gaps in Barrett’s tenure, and the Senate should wait until those records have been disclosed and vetted to move forward on her hearings.
Barrett’s tenure on the 7th Circuit appeals court has been limited, and while some elements of her judicial background have been brought to light — including that she sided with corporations over people 76% of the time — there is still a wealth of information largely unknown to the public and to the senators who will vote on her nomination. Just today, news broke that Barrett failed to disclose crucial information in her paperwork for the Senate — leaving open questions about what other information on Barrett’s history she may have omitted and kept from the American people.
“With so much at stake in confirming a new Supreme Court justice, it is essential that lawmakers and the public have all the information possible about Amy Coney Barrett before the Senate officially considers her for the position,” said Kyle Herrig, president of Accountable.US. “The new justice will have a say in the wellbeing of every American for decades to come. Trump and his Senate allies shouldn’t be ramming a nominee through without having all the facts just to fulfill their radical judicial agenda. The Senate should wait to move forward on hearings until information from these records requests has been made public.”
“Amy Coney Barrett was rushed through her first confirmation and now she’s on the fast track again,” said Austin Evers, executive director of American Oversight. “There has never been a nominee about whom we know so little. Mitch McConnell would like to keep it that way, but the public has a right to understand who has been nominated to fill the most consequential Supreme Court vacancy in recent memory.”
Accountable.US has filed records requests for communications and documents from Barrett’s tenure at the University of Virginia, her teaching career while in Indiana, and to the Department of Justice for more information regarding her tenure on the 7th Circuit.
Separately, today the group sent a letter to Judge Barrett calling on Barrett to have Notre Dame, her alma mater where she later served as a law professor for the vast majority of her career, to make public documents relevant to the record of the nominee including emails, personnel file, student evaluations, communications and records regarding her involvement in faculty groups and committees, and other relevant filings from her time on staff. Without these documents the American public has insufficient information with which to assess her nomination.
In addition to Accountable.US’s records request, American Oversight has also filed FOIA requests with the Department of Justice seeking DOJ communications with outside individuals and organizations regarding Barrett’s nomination. American Oversight additionally requested communications between DOJ officials and the office of Senator Mitch McConnell concerning federal judicial nominations.