WASHINGTON — When Amy Coney Barrett was appointed to the Supreme Court by President Donald Trump, Democrats described her as a threat to the protection of health care and Republicans saw her as a conservative who would fulfill their desire to see the court turn sharply to the right.
In her first tenure on the bench, Justice Barrett defied predictions on both sides in many ways.
She joined a 7-2 majority rejecting a challenge to the Affordable Care Act, which Senate Democrats said she would eliminate when they unanimously opposed its confirmation in October.
She has also distanced herself from more conservative members of the court on several occasions, instead joining Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh in accommodating the court’s diminished Liberal minority by taking progressive steps to the right and by interpreting cases narrowly rather than approving jumps in jurisprudence. Judge Barrett also did not join calls from other Conservatives to deal with some potentially controversial cases, including several aimed at curtailing LGBT rights.
“She came out as a cautious member of the tribunal who will not drop bombs or make sweeping statements, but will judge cases on an individual basis,” said Derek Muller, a law professor at the University of the Iowa, who studied under Judge Barrett when she taught. at the Faculty of Law of Notre-Dame. Some Republicans, he said, were disappointed that several of his cases did not yield results more in line with their political priorities.