Ever since Trump announced his nomination of 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Amy Coney Barrett to fill Ruth Bader Ginsberg's seat on Supreme Court, there has been a barrage of criticism painting her as a right wing zealot who will blindly rubber stamp whatever Trump wants to do on any issue once she is confirmed for the Court, as now seems inevitable. I must admit that this was my own initial impression based on a reading a host of headlines to that effect.

However, after actually looking at her immigration record and reading of actual opinion in a leading case, it becomes clear that her record is far more nuanced, at least with regard to immigration, and that her scholarship and legal analysis deserve considerable respect, even when one disagrees with her conclusions.

Vox reports two major opinions by Barrett as a 7th Circuit Judge. See::


In one of them, a dissent in Cook County.v..Wolf, she supported the Trump administration in upholding the legality of the new Public Charge rule (whose author, Stephen Miller has an infamous record of supporting white supremacist ideology and has been justly accused of trying to impose that ideology on the current legal immigration system in a throwback to the open racism of the 1924 national origins immigration act).

In another opinion, however (Meza Morales v. Barr) she opposed the Trump administration's attempt to deprive immigration judges of the power to effective cancel deportation proceedings through a procedure known as "administrative closure".This effort to deprive judges of the power to close deportation cases was the initiative of Miller's former boss, then Attorney General and former Senator Jeff Sessions.

Both opinions were based on close and detailed readings of applicable statutes,

To be continued in Part 2 of this 2-part comment.

Roger Algase
Attorney at Law