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The Journal Gazette

Tuesday, July 03, 2018 3:00 pm

Banks endorses Barrett for Supreme Court

U.S. Rep. Jim Banks said Wednesday he wants President Donald Trump to nominate federal Judge Amy Coney Barrett for a seat on the Supreme Court.

Barrett, a judge on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals and a former University of Notre Dame law professor, is reportedly among a few people Trump is considering to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy. Trump met separately Monday with four candidates, including Barrett, 46, according to news media. 

“Amy Coney Barrett would bring both impeccable credentials and Hoosier common-sense to the bench. As the youngest jurist on President Trump’s short list, she has the unique opportunity to leave a legacy and reshape the direction of the court for generations to come," Banks, R-3rd, said in a statement. 

“Many Americans elected President Trump because of his promise to nominate conservative constitutionalists to the Supreme Court who are in the mold of the late Justice (Antonin) Scalia. Democrats attacking Barrett for upholding the rights of the unborn and respecting religious freedom demonstrate why she is an excellent pick,” Banks said.

Democratic members of the Senate Judiciary Committee asked Barrett at her confirmation hearing last year whether her Catholic faith might affect her judicial objectivity, with Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calf., telling Barrett "that the dogma lives loudly within you."

Barrett wrote in 1998 that Catholic judges should recuse themselves from death-penalty cases because their church opposes capital punishment.

Barrett wrote in 2013 that Supreme Court justices should rule according to the U.S. Constitution rather than judicial precedents, leading many people to presume she would support repealing the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion.

Trump has said he will announce his court choice Monday. The nominee will require confirmation by the Senate, which Republicans control 51-49. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said Sunday on CNN that she "would not support a nominee who demonstrated hositility to Roe v. Wade."

Indiana Sen. Joe Donnelly is regarded as a key vote in confirming Trump's pick. He was among three Democratic senators who supported confirming Neil Gorsuch, Trump's first Supreme Court nominee, in 2017. Donnelly stands for re-election this year in a state Trump won by 19 percentage points in the 2016 presidential election.