Future of the Supreme Court after loss of Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Future of the Supreme Court after loss of Ruth Bader Ginsburg

BOSTON — Boston University School of Law professor Jack Beermann once had dinner with Ruth Bader Ginsburg and her late husband Marty Ginsburg after a speaking engagement at BU. Beermann would later speak with Ginsburg several times about recommendations of one of her law clerks for a faculty position at BU.

“It was a very pleasant conversation, really inspiring,” Beermann said of their meal together. “She was like a one-woman tornado when it came to establishing women’s rights. She would be a hero even if she had never served on the Supreme Court for her work on women’s rights, where she won five out of six big cases at the Supreme Court, and then she was a distinguished judge to the D.C. Circuit.”

Beermann spoke with Boston 25 News minutes after President Donald Trump nominated Amy Coney Barrett to fill Ginsburg’s vacant seat on the high court.

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Beermann once clerked at the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals where the 48-year-old Barrett, a mother of seven and devout Christian, is a judge.

“She’s perfectly qualified to be on the Supreme Court,” Beermann said of Barrett. “She’s little younger than most people that get nominated to that. She’s been a judge only for three years. But she had a distinguished scholarly career, and she’s a very good writer. Her opinions are very well-reasoned.”

If and when she is confirmed by a majority Republican Senate, Barrett would solidify a conservative majority of 6-3 on the bench.

“I think it’s going to have a great deal of effect because you have four members of the court that seem to be pretty doctrinaire conservative all the time,” Beermann said. “Then you have [Chief Justice John Roberts], who seems to be in the middle and then you have three justices left now who are pretty liberal all the time. So basically what it means is conservatives no longer need the chief justice’s vote to form a majority on any decision.”

Many Democrats fear that conservative majority will lead to a change in abortion rights.

“There’s no question that it becomes much more likely that Roe v. Wade will be overturned because the most restrained of the justices in the conservative wing is Chief Justice Roberts,” Beermann said. “And so now they don’t need his vote to overthrow Roe v. Wade. Whether they do it or not, only time will tell.”

Senator Elizabeth Warren (MA-D) also weighed in on the Judge Barrett’s nomination.

But Beermann believes there is no way to predict the way Barrett will vote.

“You never really know how a person is going to behave on the Supreme Court until they get on the Supreme Court,” Beermann said. “So really, whatever suspicions you have or predilections you have usually are correct. Usually, you can tell by their record how they’re going to behave. But you never really know until they’re actually there.”

Following Barrett’s presidential nomination, the Senate Judiciary Committee will examine her record before a full Senate vote to confirm her. With no apparent recourse for Democrats, Barrett will almost certainly be confirmed and could be on the bench in a few weeks.