Notable opinions of U.S. Supreme Court contender Amy Coney Barrett

(Reuters) - Amy Coney Barrett, a front-runner for the open U.S. Supreme Court seat President Donald Trump is pushing to fill, is a favorite among religious conservatives.

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit Judge Amy Coney Barrett, a law professor at Notre Dame University, poses in an undated photograph obtained from Notre Dame University September 19, 2020. Matt Cashore/Notre Dame University/Handout via REUTERS

As a judge on the Chicago-based 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Barrett, 48, has voted in favor of one of Trump’s hardline immigration policies and shown support for expansive gun rights. Here are some of her most notable opinions.


Barrett indicated support for gun rights in a March 2019 dissenting opinion.

She was part of a three-judge panel that considered a challenge to a federal law that bars people convicted of felonies from owning firearms. A businessman who had pleaded guilty to mail fraud argued the law was unconstitutional as applied to him.

The two other judges, both appointed by Republican President Ronald Reagan, said the federal law and a similar Wisconsin one were constitutional.

In a dissent, Barrett said that, absent evidence the man was violent, permanently disqualifying him from owning a gun violated the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

“History is consistent with common sense: it demonstrates that legislatures have the power to prohibit dangerous people from possessing guns,” Barrett wrote. “But that power extends only to people who are dangerous.”


Abortion rights groups have expressed concern that if appointed, Barrett could help overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion nationwide.

Although Barrett has not ruled directly on abortion as a judge, she has cast votes signaling opposition to rulings that struck down abortion-related restrictions.

In 2016, Indiana passed a law requiring that fetal remains be buried or cremated after an abortion.

After some judges found the law unconstitutional, Barrett voted in favor of rehearing the case. She was outnumbered, but the Supreme Court later reinstated the Indiana law.

In 2019, Barrett voted to rehear a panel’s ruling that upheld a challenge to another Republican-backed Indiana abortion law. The Indiana measure would require that parents be notified when a girl under 18 is seeking an abortion even in situations in which she has asked a court to provide consent instead of her parents.

The Supreme Court ordered in July that the case be reconsidered.


In June, Barrett said in a dissenting opinion that she would have let one of Trump’s hardline immigration policies go forward in Illinois.

The litigation was over the “public charge” rule, a policy of denying legal permanent residency to certain immigrants deemed likely to require government assistance in the future.

Barrett dissented when a three-judge panel voted to halt the policy in Illinois.

Reporting by Jan Wolfe, Lawrence Hurley and Andrew Chung; Editing by Noeleen Walder and Peter Cooney