Judge Amy Coney Barrett, the Supreme Court nominee, has said that she would interpret the U.S. Constitution in the same manner as the late Justice Antonin Scalia. Justice Scalia was an “originalist,” arguing that the Constitution should be interpreted in a manner consistent with the intention of the drafters at the time the U.S. Constitution was written.

This raises a fundamental question: How can Judge Barrett, as a woman, take part in any case before the Supreme Court, given that the drafters of the U.S. Constitution, which entered into force in March 1789, would not have accepted that any woman pass judgment on the Constitution? No woman would have been admitted to university studies, and certainly not to study law, in 1789. No woman could have become a judge, much less a Supreme Court justice.

If Judge Barrett believes that the Constitution should today, in 2020 and into the future, be interpreted as intended by those who wrote it in 1787, then she should not be involved in any decision by the Supreme Court.

At a very minimum, in good conscience and to be fully consistent with her professed legal beliefs, she should recuse herself from any case considered by the Supreme Court that could potentially affect women, Blacks, Indigenous People and all others who had no legal standing or rights according to the writers of the Constitution in 1787-1789.

I would urge Maine’s members of the U.S. Senate to raise this fundamental question to Judge Barrett.

Gretchen H. Stanton

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