American Judges Association


Date of this Version



Court Review - Volume 57


Used by permission.


The death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in September 2020 and the appointment of Justice Amy Coney Barrett to replace her solidified a 6-3 majority on the Court for Republican appointees and is already affecting how the Court approaches and decides its criminal law and procedure cases. Justice Ginsburg, a strong advocate for equality and fair treatment, generally construed criminal statutes narrowly and stressed the importance of defendants’ procedural rights. Justice Barrett is an originalist who will look to history to seek answers on the scope of criminal procedure amendments. The combined appointments of Justice Gorsuch and Justice Barrett mean that litigants will need to focus more on historical analyses when arguing in front of the Court if they hope to garner a majority.