Justice Amy Coney Barrett Welcomes Public Scrutiny of Supreme Court

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett spoke at a conference in Wisconsin, and she mentioned that she’s open to people looking closely at what the court does. However, she didn’t say if she believes the court should change the way it works because some people have been critical of it lately.

She didn’t give her thoughts on whether the judges should follow a set of rules that they all agree on. Instead, she had a conversation with Diane Sykes, who is the chief judge of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court. This happened at a conference attended by judges, lawyers, and court staff. The conference was held because people have been having less trust in the court recently. This is because of some big decisions that have split people’s opinions, like the one about Roe v. Wade and abortion last year.

Barrett didn’t talk about the problems that some judges have had with their behavior – like Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Sonia Sotomayor.

Barrett said that it’s okay for people to look closely at what the court does. She also said that it’s good for people to learn more about how their government works. She mentioned that there’s a lot of information available all the time now because of the internet and smartphones. Before, people would read newspapers, but now they see things on their phones all the time.

Barrett remembered a time when there was no internet, and she worked as a law clerk. People used to visit the Supreme Court and ask the judges for directions or even to take their photos because they didn’t know who they were. She thinks it’s better that judges aren’t super famous like celebrities.

But she knows that it’s not new for people to criticize the court. Judges are like public figures, so they get both good and bad attention. Barrett said that she’s still new to being a judge and that it’s been a couple of years since she started. She’s learned to handle criticism and said all judges have to do that.

Before being a Supreme Court judge, Barrett worked as a judge for the 7th Circuit from 2017 to 2020. She also taught law at Notre Dame Law School. She took over the spot of Ruth Bader Ginsburg when she was appointed to the Supreme Court.

Barrett thinks that it’s okay for the court to be in the news a lot, but there are both good and bad sides to it. If it makes people pay attention to the court and understand the Constitution better, that’s a good thing. But if people get the wrong idea because of the news, that’s not good.

Barrett’s talk happened after Justice Elena Kagan said she supports having a set of rules for the Supreme Court. But it seems like the judges don’t all agree on how to make that happen. This means that the court is trying to figure out how to deal with people’s concerns about how they behave.

Justice Samuel Alito said earlier that Congress can’t make rules for the Supreme Court’s behavior. He was the first judge to say this publicly. Other judges haven’t talked much about this topic. The court has been in the news for judges doing things that seem political, like speaking with important politicians or promoting their own things like books.

Barrett described the court as a friendly place where judges have lunch together. They try to get along and understand each other.

The conference where Barrett spoke was for the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which includes Wisconsin, Illinois, and Indiana – where Barrett used to live. The meeting took place in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, a nice area about 80 miles from Chicago.

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