October 29, 2020
By a close vote, 52-48, Amy Coney Barrett was confirmed as America’s newest Supreme Court Judge. Following the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who sadly passed away only a month before on September 18th, the confirmation was pushed through quickly by Republican lawmakers and the Trump administration. She was only nominated about thirty days before.
The death of Justice Ginsburg was a shock to women’s advocacy and civil rights groups across the nation. She was a hero to women, who looked up to her for not only her role as a woman in the highest court in the land but her feminist views and liberal voting history. Unfortunately, Justice Ginsburg suffered from health issues for a while before she eventually passed at 87 years old. Her granddaughter stated that before she died, she said, “My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new President is installed.” President Trump nominated Amy Coney Barrett less than ten days later.
Our current political climate is chaotic at best. America’s politics has become a spectator sport, the stadium filled with diehard fans ready to fight for their team. The nomination of Amy Coney Barrett was like throwing in a surprise player right before the bell. Her confirmation has fueled the dumpster fire that 2020 has been dubbed as.
Democrats and left leaning individuals have noted a similar situation that occurred during the Obama presidency after Judge Scalia’s death. During President Obama’s last year of his term, the long-standing Judge Scalia passed away and one month later President Obama nominated a replacement, one Merrick Garland. Then, and current, Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blocked the nomination under the premise that the American people should have a say in the nomination. He felt it was best to let the next sitting president appoint a judge to the vacant position. Lindsay Graham, Republican Senator Representative for South Carolina, actually said the now famous line, “I want you to use my words against me. If there’s a Republican president in 2016 and a vacancy occurs in the last year of the first term, you can say Lindsey Graham said, ‘Let’s let the next president, whoever it might be, make that nomination.” President Trump nominated Neil Gorsuch the following year. The hypocrisy of the situation has left many democrats and left leaning Americans, even Independents, reeling in the wake of the swift and aggressive push for confirmation. Adding another blow to Americans, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell stated that the Senate would push back coronavirus relief talks in order to focus on Judge Barrett’s confirmation.
Amy Coney Barret graduated from Rhodes College in Memphis, TN in 1994 and then went on to Notre Dame Law School where she graduated from in 1997. Interestingly, she clerked for Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia at one point after graduation. She worked in as a clerk and in a law firm until 2002 when she went back Notre Dame as a faculty member. During the Obama administration she began to make a public presence with her criticism of the Affordable Care Act and anti-abortion stance. In May of 2017, she was nominated by President Trump to sit on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, covering Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin. Since that time, she has written over a hundred opinions that speak to her conservative and originalist views similar to those of Judge Scalia’s. It’s those same opinions that have some worried about the future of Roe v. Wade, LGBTQ rights, among other issues.
The White House website posted an article praising Justice Barrett, noting that she is the 115th Associate Justice to be confirmed. She is only the fifth woman to serve, though that is not mentioned on the official White House page. They do mention that she is the first Supreme Court Justice to have be a mother to school aged children while serving. She also has a child with special needs, which brings “a valuable new perspective.” And what I find most interesting, she is the first to serve that graduated with a law degree from another school aside from Harvard and Yale, two of some of the oldest schools in the country. The well written, but short, article from the current administration speaks highly of her accomplishments and boasts a strong future for our justice system.
With our newest confirmation to the Supreme Court, there is now a conservative majority overseeing national judicial matters. While this leaves Republican and conservative voters happy, many women and the LGBTQ community are afraid for what their future looks like under Judge Barrett.
By: Trisha Bravo