Judicial Nominee Who Called Roe v. Wade an 'Erroneous Decision' Confirmed by Senate

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On Tuesday, the Senate confirmed Amy Coney Barrett to a lifetime appointment on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. Barrett’s nomination had prompted severe criticism from LGBTQ and women’s advocacy groups.


Barrett, a Notre Dame law professor, was confirmed 55–43, with three Democrats—Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, and Tim Kaine of Virginia—joining Republicans in approving her nomination.

Abortion rights groups were particularly concerned by Barrett’s nomination. In 2003, she authored a paper that posited the Supreme Court’s decision legalizing abortion, Roe v. Wade, was an “erroneous decision.”


In September, a coalition of 17 reproductive rights group wrote to the Senate opposing Barrett’s nomination. “Now, more than ever, women must be able to rely on the courts to protect their constitutional rights,” the letter read. “But Barrett’s record shows she will undermine, not protect, the freedoms Americans depend on.”

Their letter also points to a “statement of protest” against the Affordable Care Act’s birth control mandate that Barrett participated in which described the mandate as “assault on religious liberty.”

Twenty-seven concerned LGBTQ advocacy groups also sent a letter to the Senate objecting to Barrett’s nomination. Among other things, she gave a speech to the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a pernicious nonprofit dedicated to attacking LGBTQ rights under the guise of religious freedom. The Southern Poverty Law Center considers the ADF a hate group.

Citing her speech to the ADF, the groups’ letter said, “LGBT people cannot put their faith in the courts when the judge before them refuses to even recognize a brazenly anti-LGBT group as what it is.”


During Barrett’s confirmation hearing in September, Senator Dianne Feinstein of California expressed concerns of her own—mainly that Barrett wouldn’t abide by Roe v. Wade’s precedent because of her strict Catholic faith.

“You’re controversial because many of us who have lived our lives as women really recognize the value of finally being able to control our reproductive systems,” Feinstein said. “You have a long history of believing that your religious beliefs should prevail.”