FILE PHOTO: Judge Amy Coney Barrett, U.S. President Donald Trump’s nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court, in the U.S. Capitol, in… POOL October 12, 2020 06:17am EDT

THE NEUTRAL ZONE

Amy Coney Barrett took part in her first case arguments as a Supreme Court justice.

Barrett participated in Monday’s hearings via teleconference because of coronavirus restrictions. She was welcomed by Chief Justice John Roberts, who stated, “It gives me great pleasure on behalf of myself and my colleagues to welcome Justice Barrett to the court,” adding “we wish you a long and happy career in our common calling.”

 One case under review is U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service v. Sierra Club,  which concerns whether decision-making documents should be able to be accessed by the public as a part of a formal process under the Endangered Species Act. The case, which is centered around the Freedom of Information Act, involves the government’s dispute with Sierra Club that it must provide draft documents involving “interpretations, staff instructions, and policies with operative effect on later agency decisions.”

 “You said that if a government official simply stamps ‘draft’ on it and sent it over, and as Justice Kavanaugh is positing did so in order to avoid FOIA disclosure requirements, you said that a court might look at other factors to determine whether it’s still final, what other factors would a court consider?” Barrett stated in her first question regarding the case. The other case under review is in regard to unemployment benefits for railroad employees.

MEDIA PERSPECTIVE

Justice Amy Coney Barrett joins 1st Supreme Court arguments – ABC News – 11/2/20 So far, Barrett has not participated in any of the court’s election-related decisions, citing her newness to the bench and inability to fully read-in on the issues before a prompt resolution was required. She will be closely watched in the days immediately after the election as ballot challenges potentially reach the court and as she more fully engages as a member of the conservative majority.

Justice Amy Coney Barrett hearing first Supreme Court oral arguments Monday – Fox News – 11/2/20 Because the remote oral arguments are done via traditional phone line instead of video conference, the arguments are much more structured than the typical free-for-all format in which justices interrupt the lawyers arguing before them at will. The lawyers will open their arguments with brief comments before justices each get five minutes to quiz the lawyers on their own, by descending order of seniority. 

Fact check: There is no Sen. Rob Donaldson, so posts of his speech about Barrett are fake – USA TODAY – 11/2/20 Several Facebook posts shared in the wake of those hearings include a long comment appearing to be a transcript of a speech made by a Sen. Rob Donaldson before the committee.  But there’s no such person.  Rob Donaldson, the New York City attorney who made the first post, told USA TODAY he had no idea people would take his hypothetical post so seriously. 

Supreme Court sides with activist DeRay McKesson in lawsuit over officer injured at protest – CNBC – 11/2/20 The Supreme Court on Monday sided with prominent Black Lives Matter activist DeRay McKesson, who is fending off a lawsuit from a police officer injured at a protest that McKesson attended. […] The decision appeared to be 7-1, with Justice Clarence Thomas the only noted dissent. Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who was sworn in a week ago, did not participate in the case.

INFLUENCER PERSPECTIVE

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