Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett brings a considerable paper trail from 18 years as a University of Notre Dame law professor and judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit since 2017. Her academic writings and 100 opinions and six dissents as a judge provide clues about how she approaches issues like gun rights, criminal procedure and how judges should approach precedent, reports Bloomberg Law. Cases she authored on criminal procedure and qualified immunity show Barrett “isn’t a knee-jerk protector of the government in terms of law enforcement, or a knee-jerk ruler for the criminal defendants,” said Ilya Shapiro of the Cato Institute’s Robert A. Levy Center for Constitutional Studies.
Barrett sided with officers in finding a traffic stop reasonable even though the officers a year later didn’t remember stopping the suspects. In another case, she wrote that a detective who lied to get arrest warrant isn’t entitled to qualified immunity. In U.S. v. Terry, she found that police didn’t have the authority to search a suspect’s apartment because they failed to verify that the woman who let them in lived there. In U.S. v. Watson, she agreed with a suspect that the police didn’t have a reasonable suspicion to block his car based on an unreliable tip. Barrett is “open minded” and willing to rule against the government, said Georgia State law Prof. Eric Segall. Barrett’s dissent in a gun rights case indicates she has a “very expansive view of the right to bear arms and would very likely be hostile to gun control efforts,” said law Prof. Adam Winkler of the University of California Los Angeles. The majority upheld a ban on felons possessing firearms. Barrett’s dissent argued that such laws run afoul of the Second Amendment because there’s no evidence those who commit nonviolent felonies are dangerous.