It’s Too Bad Amy Coney Barrett Can’t Seem to Do Anything to Stop Systemic Racism

In her world, racism exists, but there’s nothing a lowly federal judge could — or should — do about it

Photo: Pool/Getty Images

Amy Coney Barrett is likely going to be rammed through the Supreme Court approval process before the election, meaning in a few weeks, there will be another conservative justice on the court.

During the confirmation hearings, Barrett has been asked about systemic racism in the criminal justice system and the country at large.

“It would be hard to imagine a criminal justice system as big as ours without having an implicit bias in it,” Barrett said. “I think that in our large criminal justice system, it would be inconceivable that there wasn’t some implicit bias.”

But when it comes to her role in that criminal justice system, Barrett said that it was actually lawmakers’ responsibility to tackle systemic racism, not judges, according to NPR.

In Amy Coney Barrett’s world, racism exists, but there’s nothing a lowly federal judge could — or should — do about it.

This might be due to the fact that Barrett claims to be an originalist, meaning she takes the Constitution’s text literally and does not attempt to translate it for a world more than 230 years removed from when it was written.

MSNBC’s Joy Reid showcased the inherent racism in originalist interpretation of the Constitution in one sentence, quote-tweeting Barrett’s statement on originalism.

“At the time the Constitution was ratified, Black people were classed as three-fifths of a person,” Reid wrote.

Senior Writer at OneZero covering surveillance, facial recognition, DIY tech, and artificial intelligence. Previously: Qz, PopSci, and NYTimes.

Sign up for Up to Speed

By Momentum

A newsletter by Momentum that keeps the conversation going Take a look.

By signing up, you will create a Medium account if you don’t already have one. Review our Privacy Policy for more information about our privacy practices.

Check your inbox
Medium sent you an email at to complete your subscription.

Momentum is a blog that captures and reflects the moment we find ourselves in, one where rampant anti-Black racism is leading to violence, trauma, protest, reflection, sorrow, and more. Momentum doesn’t look away when the news cycle shifts.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store