by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
In her rulings on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, Judge Amy Coney Barrett has made it clear that she will protect Americans by enforcing the extensive guarantees of equal treatment contained in federal civil rights law—as intended by Congress.
That’s exactly what we should want (and expect) in a justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.
In nearly three years on the 7th Circuit, Barrett has participated in a number of important civil rights cases that illustrate her view of the law and her view of how a judge should interpret and enforce the law.
For example, in Kleber v CareFusion Corp., Barrett joined seven other judges to apply the clear text of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. The issue was whether the prohibition against age discrimination applied only to employees of a company or also to job applicants.
The court ruled against a lawyer with decades of experience who had brought a claim under the law after he was rejected for a job calling for only three to seven years of experience. CareFusion had instead hired an applicant with the requisite seven years of experience.
The age-discrimination law specifically states that it is unlawful for an employer to “limit, segregate, or classify his employees (emphasis added) in any way” that would “adversely affect his status as an employee, because of such individual’s age.” …
… The court made its decision based on the statute’s “plain language … reinforced by the [law’s] broader structure and history.” …
… Barrett’s rulings illustrate that she will follow the law, regardless of who the plaintiffs or defendants are. In Haynes v. Indiana University, Barrett joined an opinion by Judge Diane Sykes upholding the decision of Indiana University to deny tenure to a black professor. The professor claimed his denial of tenure was based on racial discrimination.