Amy Coney Barrett's confirmation is a win for America's future. With an election on the line, we need a Supreme Court that will stay true to our nation's doctrines.
As Barrett said during day two of the Senate confirmation hearing, "I interpret the Constitution as a law ... I interpret its text as text, and I understand it to have the meaning that it had at the time people ratified it. That meaning doesn't change over time and it's not up to me to update it or infuse my own policy views into it."
Barrett is a justice who will advocate for freedom of speech and protect individual liberties. Although her confirmation came at a controversial time, history shows us a number of Supreme Court justices who were nominated during an election season and then went on to make significant contributions to American history by protecting individual rights.
Supreme Court justices are crucial in protecting the rights of every individual. In November of 1864, Salmon Chase was appointed as the chief justice of the Supreme Court. His appointment came after losing to Abraham Lincoln as the Republican presidential nominee. Chase was met by a pivotal moment in American history – the period of Reconstruction.
Chase appointed John Rock to be the first African-American attorney to argue a case before the Supreme Court. Later on, Chase would oversee many of the Reconstruction era legal matters and the impeachment trial of President Andrew Johnson in 1868. Chase is remembered for protecting the rights of Black Americans from infringement of state action.
A Supreme Court justice must champion freedom of speech. When former President Woodrow Wilson was running for re-election in 1916, he nominated Louis Brandeis for the Supreme Court. Brandeis was an advocate for legal reform and became the first Jewish Supreme Court justice.
His appointment was significant as the previous election led to the reduction of Democrats in Congress. Brandeis was known for championing freedom of speech and the right to be left alone. William Douglas, who succeeded Brandeis, characterized him as "dangerous because he was incorruptible."
It is the role of our Supreme Court to make decisions based on our founding principles. Although a Democrat, William Brennan was nominated for the Supreme Court by former Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1956. Brennan went on to be regarded as a justice who defended the Bill of Rights and respected individual rights and liberties.
On the Supreme Court, Brennan authored opinions that strengthened our democracy and protected free expression. This included press freedoms, which were expanded in the New York Times Co. v. Sullivan (1964) case.
As we have seen in history, our nation flourishes when we remain committed to our founding doctrines by protecting freedom of speech and individual rights. Through the confirmation hearing, Barrett has already proved that she is not rattled by outside opinions and political parties. Rather, she will remain committed to the Constitution and its original interpretation. "I believe Americans of all backgrounds deserve an independent Supreme Court that interprets our Constitution and laws as they are written."
With the Supreme Court poised to make decisions on key cases next month, Barrett's confirmation couldn't be more timely. To protect our democracy, America needs Amy Coney Barrett.
Dr. Kent Ingle serves as the President of Southeastern University in Lakeland, Florida, and is the author of "Framework Leadership." A champion of innovative educational design, Ingle is the president of one of the fastest growing private universities in the nation. As president, Ingle founded the American Center for Political Leadership at the university and is also a founding member of the Presidents' Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration. Before becoming Southeastern's president in 2011, Ingle held leadership positions in higher education and the nonprofit sector in Los Angeles, Chicago, and Seattle. Ingle is the author of several leadership books and the creator of the Framework Leadership podcast. He currently serves on the board of the Florida Chamber of Commerce Foundation. Read Kent Ingle's Reports — More Here.
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