University of Texas law professor Stephen Vladeck says he expects that with Barrett’s confirmation, the court would be transformed into the most conservative court since the 1930s, a court that is much more aggressive in its conservative agenda.
“When it comes to big picture cases, running the spectrum from abortion to religion to campaign finance to everything, there is no longer going to be … any concern about a squishy median when you have six solid conservatives from which to find five” justices to form a majority, Vladeck said.
Barrett closely identifies with the justice she once clerked for, the late Antonin Scalia, who more than any other justice popularized the idea of originalism, meaning that the court should interpret the Constitution as it was originally intended by the Founders. But Scalia, at the same time, often referred to himself as a “faint-hearted originalist” because he also embraced one of the other building blocks of legal interpretation, namely, adhering to precedent, even when, in his view, some of those precedents conflicted with what the Founding Fathers thought when they ratified the Constitution.
Judge Barrett’s views on precedent, however, appear to be closer to those of Justice Clarence Thomas, who has little regard for precedent and has urged overturning many long-established decisions.