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Abstract

President Joe Biden’s nomination of then-Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the United States Supreme Court (the “Court”) conjured up all too fresh memories of just how politicized the Court, and the candidate selection process, has become. Not long before now-Justice Jackson’s nomination, the recent nomination and confirmation of Justice Amy Coney Barrett to the Court received significant media attention, both within the United States (U.S.) and internationally. On the same day of her swearing-in ceremony, the BBC, a public news organization headquartered in the United Kingdom (U.K.), found it relevant to publish an article describing seemingly mundane features of Justice Barrett’s life. For example, BBC journalist Vicky Baker noted that “Judge Barrett lives in South Bend, Indiana, with her husband, Jesse, a former federal prosecutor who is now with a private firm. The couple have seven children, including two adopted from Haiti. She is the oldest of seven children herself.” Moreover, that February, American essayist Margaret Talbot published an article in The New Yorker in which she claims Justice Barrett “isn’t just another conservative—she’s the product of a Christian legal movement that is intent on remaking America.” Notwithstanding the specifics of Ms. Baker and Ms. Talbot’s commentary on Justice Barrett, it is clear that the news media saw nearly everything about her life as relevant and that they were keen on predicting the impact she may have on American politics.

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