By Sophia Alexandrou
On October 26, 2020, the United States Senate confirmed Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court with a 52-48 vote after just a month of being nominated, filling the seat of the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
This confirmation not only yields several threats to the civil liberties of millions of Americans, but also highlights the shear hypocrisy of the GOP. The nomination of Merrick Garland by President Obama in February of 2016 was dragged on for months and Garland never even got a hearing because, in the words of Republican Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, “The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president.” However, when a Republican president nominates someone two months before the election, McConnell and the rest of the GOP do not bat an eye. With a 6-3 Republican majority in the Supreme Court, many Americans are met with extremely valid worries about what this nomination means for their future. Why are they so worried?
Firstly, one of the most significant issues facing the Supreme Court is the possible overturning of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court case that gave women the right to receive an abortion. In her home state of Indiana, Barrett considered three laws that would restrict abortions. In 2018, she was in support of a law that would make it illegal to receive an abortion on the basis that a child is born with a disability, and another that a fetus must be buried or cremated after the pregnancy is terminated. Restrictions set in place for abortions could be detrimental for women’s health and their financial well-being, especially when considering late-term abortions, where most of the time, the woman or the baby’s life is threatened. With regard to late-term abortions, Barrett stated, “I think the question of whether people can get very late-term abortions, how many restrictions can be put on clinics – I think that would change.” In addition, during President Trump’s 2016 campaign, he made it very clear that he wanted to appoint pro-life justices onto the Supreme Court saying, “That will happen automatically, in my opinion, because I am putting pro-life justices on the court.” While during her confirmation hearings for the Seventh Circuit, she said that she would follow the court’s precedent on abortion, these past actions show that she has no issue with imposing legal action on a woman’s bodily autonomy.
On November 10, a hearing will take place in front of the Supreme Court about the most recent challenges surrounding the Affordable Care Act, a federal statute set in place under the Obama administration that continues to provide millions of Americans with health care that they otherwise would not be able to afford. Many Americans are worried about the future of the Affordable Care Act, pointing to Chief Justice John Roberts’ support of a decision to preserve the A.C.A. on the basis that the penalty for not buying insurance was not unconstitutional. In response to the decision, Barrett wrote, “Chief Justice Roberts pushed the Affordable Care Act beyond its plausible meaning to save the statute.” Repealing the A.C.A. would mean the loss of health care for 22 million people, and without a clear plan from the Trump administration, this would put the health and lives of every single one of those Americans at risk.
These are just a few of the issues that people worry about concerning Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s newly found seat in the Supreme Court. Many also worry about her stance on gay marriage and LGBTQ+ rights in general, her inaction regarding gun violence, and her views on climate change, though it is difficult to fully grasp what her opinions are on these topics as she dodged pretty much every question that was thrown her way at her confirmation hearing. When asked to see her notes, Amy Coney Barrett revealed a blank note pad. This is not surprising though, considering she was unable to name the five rights given by the first amendment. She was woefully unprepared for this hearing.
While it is somewhat unclear where her opinions lie concerning some of the biggest issues facing the United States today, one thing to remember is that President Trump selected her for a reason. He needed someone to appear as a step forward for inclusion, but who will support all of his backward and harmful initiatives. Anyone who can be trusted by a man who consistently advocates for proposals that would, and have, actively hurt millions of Americans, should not be trusted at all. If Ruth Bader Ginsburg broke the glass ceiling, Amy Coney Barrett will patch it right back up.