The Case Against Justice Amy Coney Barrett

 The Case Against Justice Amy Coney Barrett

 Ela Mody ’23
Contributing Writer

On Monday, October 26th, Amy Coney Barrett was confirmed to the Supreme Court of the United States. President Trump nominated her to fill the seat of late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She was confirmed with the vote 52-48 in an extremely divided Senate. For the first time since 1869, a Supreme Court nominee was confirmed who did not receive bipartisan support—receiving no support from the Democrats. Furthermore, no nominee has been confirmed this close to an election. During President Obama’s term, 293 days before the 2016 election, his Supreme Court nominee could not even get a hearing because the Senate Republicans complained that it was too close to the election date. Now in this short amount of time, the Senate Republicans, led by Mitch McConnell, pushed her confirmation through. After she was sworn in, the Court instantly became a 6-3 conservative majority. She will immediately start hearing cases on important issues. 

I believe the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett was undemocratic. The entire process was rushed and illegitimate. On Thursday, October 22nd, Democrats in the Senate Judiciary Committee boycotted the vote to progress with Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation in the full Senate. The Republican chair of this committee, Senator Lindsey Graham continued with the vote anyway, even though the rule requires that at least two members of the minority (in this case the Democrats) are there. The Republican committee members voted to advance Amy Coney Barrett to the full Senate. Nearly 60 million people have already voted in this upcoming election, and the Republicans are projected to lose their majority, yet they still made this confirmation happen. We are in the middle of a pandemic while tackling police brutality, racism and many other pressing issues, but the fact that the Senate decided to focus on this confirmation rather than helping the American people is horrific. They got around to confirming this nominee, but could not distribute relief checks to struggling American people. This confirmation will diminish trust in the Supreme Court and further polarize America. 

Now, Amy Coney Barrett has a lifetime of power to make decisions that will negatively impact many Americans. Affordable healthcare, reproductive rights, civil rights, gun safety and more are at risk. If the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is struck down, it could take away healthcare from over 20 million Americans and those with pre-existing conditions. This will most heavily affect people of color and those with disabilities. Amy Coney Barrett seems to be in favor of overturning Roe v. Wade, a case that gave women the right to choose to have abortions. Seven out of ten Americans say Roe v. Wade should not be overturned, but if it is overturned, it will affect safe access to abortions and reproductive healthcare. Barrett thinks that marriage equality is not a constitutional right and that it should be decided by each state. This would lead to more discrimination of LGBTQ+ people based on where they live. A poll by the Public Religion Research Institute in 2019 said that 69% of Americans support protections for LGBTQ+ individuals against discrimination. Amy Coney Barrett would also be willing to strike down common sense gun laws and will move the court to support gun lobbies. 

Trump replaced a Ruth Gader Ginsburg, champion of gender equality, with someone who will restrict rights. Amy Coney Barrett has had very little experience to be a Supreme Court Justice, she has never tried a case, never argued before the Supreme Court and did not start serving as a judge (on the 7th U.S Circuit Court of Appeals) until 2017. Most of her life she has been a private attorney or a law professor. For people like me, her confirmation is terrifying because of her views and lack of experience. This confirmation will have a lasting legacy on the Court and in America. The Senate Republicans and Amy Coney Barrett are implementing their religious views into American politics and blurring the lines between Church and State, while women, people of color, people with disabilities and members of the LGBTQ+ communities suffer the consequences. This puts all minorities at risk. The Supreme Court does not represent the views of all American people and it is disappointing that our government would encourage this to happen. 

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