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Justice Amy Coney Barrett Breaks With Fellow Conservatives in January 6th Case

Justice Amy Coney Barrett sharply disapproved of her colleagues justices’ decision to reduce the scope of an obstruction allegation that was used to bring charges against several rioters who stormed the Capitol on January 6, 2021, in a dissenting opinion.

Joseph Fischer, a former police officer suspected of taking part in the Capitol attack, contested the provision arguing it was unfairly applied to rioters.

The Supreme Court voted 6-3 on Friday to support Fischer’s position.

Barrett, a Trump appointee whose own criminal case may be affected by the court’s ruling, pointed out that the high court acknowledges that the certification of the 2020 presidential election results on that day counts as a “official proceeding.”

It also doesn’t dispute that the proceedings were delayed by rioters, who may have included Fischer.

It is illegal to “corruptly” hinder, impede, or interfere with official inquiries and investigations by Congress, according to Section 1512(c)(2) of the statute.

It has been used to charge about 350 rioters who are said to have interfered with Congress’s 2020 certification of the vote, with a potential sentence of 20 years in prison.

However, the Justice Department reworked the charge to broadly prosecute rioters, despite the fact that the law—which was enacted in the wake of the Enron accounting scandal—was actually designed to prohibit document shredding only in specific circumstances.

Barret claimed that statues “often go further than the problem that inspired them,” accusing the majority of ‘abandoning’ the rules of statutory interpretation and completing ‘textual backflips’ to find “some way — any way —.”

“Joseph Fischer allegedly participated in a riot at the Capitol that forced the delay of Congress’s joint session on January 6. Blocking an official proceeding from moving forward surely qualifies as obstructing or impeding the proceeding by means other than document destruction. Fischer’s alleged conduct thus falls within (c)(2)’s scope.” she continued.

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