USD Knudson School of Law Dean gives thoughts on SCOTUS nomination

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Saturday, President Donald Trump nominated Judge Amy Coney Barrett for the empty Supreme Court seat. Barrett, if confirmed by the Senate, would replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died eight days ago.

KELOLAND News spoke with USD Knudson School of Law Dean Neil Fulton about the nomination and what we can expect to see in the weeks ahead.

If approved by the Senate, Judge Amy Coney Barrett would become the fifth woman ever to serve on the Supreme Court. Barret is a conservative who once clerked under former Justice Antonin Scalia. In 2017, Trump nominated her to the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

“She was a strong candidate already and I think was on one of the President’s early lists when she went on the 7th Circuit. She’s been a strong candidate among legal, conservative thinkers for a long period of time so I don’t think it’s particularly surprising that she would be on the list,” USD Knudson School of Law Dean Neil Fulton said.

In the following weeks, the Senate Judiciary Committee will take a look at her background.

“Typically it takes about thirty days for that information to be gathered, obviously the Senate Republican leadership is going to push that as much as it can and it’s easier to do that because Judge Barrett was considered in 2017. I suspect that the Senate Judiciary Committee will be able to act in mid-October,” Fulton said.

From there, the committee will decide whether or not to make a recommendation before the full Senate debates the nomination. A simple majority is needed for her nomination to be confirmed. Right now there are 53 Republican Senators. In the event of a 50-50 split, Vice President Mike Pence would break the tie.

“Obviously, she is a different jurist and has a different philosophy than Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg so there’s a significant rightward shift the court automatically upon her arrival. Her individual impact is hard to assess. A lot of times Justices play out differently than we think they do, so I would hesitate to speculate what kind of a Justice she would be a little bit because she deserves the right to make that legacy herself,” Fulton said.

With Election Day coming in just 38 days, Fulton says it will be interesting to see if the entire process can play out before that. However, he says the process does not need to be done by November 3rd.

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