Barring some sort of major and unexpected catastrophe, it is all but assured that Judge Amy Coney Barrett will soon be confirmed to the Supreme Court — and at only 48 years of age, the Trump nominee would likely serve on the bench for the next several decades.
With an eye toward Barrett’s expected longevity and her exceptional qualifications, Fox News contributor and legal analyst Ken Starr even went so far as to suggest — speculatively, of course — that ACB could replace Chief Justice John Roberts as the top jurist upon his retirement.
“The next chief justice”
It was during an appearance on Fox’s America’s Newsroom Thursday that Starr offered up his prognosis for Judge Barrett’s career on the Supreme Court.
“First of all, look at her age as well as her background, which is so stellar and outstanding,” Starr told Sandra Smith of Barrett when asked about the impact she might have on the court, according to Fox. “She is 48 years old. Justice Ginsburg was 87 when she passed from this life.”
He added, “So, just doing the arithmetic, she has the potential to stay on, let’s say, for four decades, so presidents will come and go. Four, five, or six presidents may come and go.”
Starr then went into his big prediction. “And the other thing is, I know this is wild projection, but, the chief justice of the United States, John Roberts is 65,” Starr said, according to Fox. “If he retires — this is speculative, obviously — at the age of 80, then she has been groomed to be the next chief justice of the United States,” he added.
“I’m ahead of my skis on this,” the lawyer admitted, “but, when you think about the Supreme Court, you need to think about it in terms of decades.”
A lot of factors at play
Of course, there’s no way to know for sure when or if Chief Justice Roberts will retire from the high court, much less predict who would be chosen to replace him. It’s the job of the president to appoint a new chief justice when one steps down, and that nomination has to be confirmed by the Senate.
If it’s a Democrat in the White House when the time comes, it’s unlikely they’d choose Barrett to lead the charge.
In fact, according to an FAQ page on the Supreme Court’s website, the president doesn’t even need to choose from one of the associate justices already on the court when naming a new chief justice.
Only five of the 17 total chief justices who have served the U.S. were elevated to that position after having served as an associate justice — three who were currently serving on the court as associates, and two who were called back out of retirement to serve as chief.
All that said, it sure looks like Barrett will turn out to be a stellar Supreme Court justice who could serve for decades — and if she impresses in her role on the bench as she’s expected to, it certainly wouldn’t be out of the question for another Republican president down the road to elevate her to the highest position on the highest court.