Election Day is right around the corner. Tensions are high, but our hopes for change are higher. Young people are more motivated to vote than ever. Men and women around the country that have never bothered to vote before, suddenly see the significance. Change is within our reach. However, On October 27, 2020 President Trump made a decision that the American people must accept and endure not only for the next four years, but possibly the next thirty years. Just eight days before the election, President Trump confirmed the new Supreme Court Justice, Amy Coney Barrett. This is an action that is highly frowned upon, especially when a President’s time in office could be coming to an end. However, as is President Trump’s custom, he disregarded the cautions and warnings and confirmed Justice Barrett to replace the late, great Justice Ginsburg on the US Supreme Court.
Consequences of Confirmation
For those who do not keep up with the news or the political happenings in our world today, it may be difficult to understand the extreme consequences this confirmation could have. But it is crucial to understand Justice Barrett, her history, her beliefs, and the policies she plans to introduce to the US Supreme Court.
Most people who have heard anything about Justice Barrett know that she is a Catholic conservative who is an outspoken, pro life advocate. But it is imperative that we go deeper and examine Amy Coney Barrett’s life and experience before she became a Justice. As most know, she will fill the seat of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, whose work always spoke for her, even before she was nominated and confirmed to the Supreme Court. RBG had years of experience with cases, specifically gender equality cases, which was her focus both before and after becoming a Justice. Amy Coney Barrett, has a completely different story when it comes to her qualifications.
The Story of Justice Barrett
According to popular News outlet, MSNBC, Justice Barrett is quite possibly the most under qualified candidate for her job that the court has seen in 30 years. There were small ways in which she differed from the other Justices on the court. For example, Barrett provided the court with about 1,800 pages and documents to review. These documents help the court to assess the nominees legal experience. In an article found in a popular news and political magazine, Mother Jones, Senior Reporter Stephanie Mencimer reports that “The Senate reviewed about 170,000 pages of records before confirming Justice Elena Kagan and 180,000 for Justice Neil Gorsuch.” The new Justice elect was only able to provide the court with little documentation of her experience, because she has very little experience.
Amy Coney Barrett only started serving as a judge three years ago, when President Trump nominated her for the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. Justice Barrett has worked in private practice for two years, but she dealt mainly with civil cases, not criminal cases. NBCNews reports that Justice Barrett has never argued an appeal, never tried a case, and never argued before the Supreme Court.
Concerns About Controversial Cases
Although Justice Barrett’s lack of experience and qualifications is frightening, it is not surprising considering the President who nominated her is also one of the least experienced to hold the Presidency. Unfortunately, Barrett’s inexperience is not the main reason thousands are concerned about her nomination. Many fear the changes she is going to make to healthcare, women’s rights, and LGBTQIA+ rights. Specifically, the lengths that Justice Barrett wishes to go to in order to criminalize abortion, is chilling.
Now, many define individuals who are “pro-life” as those opposed to legalized abortion. Another definition is “the right to life.” Pro-lifers claim to believe that all life is valuable, whether it is a fetus or fully developed and independent, and this right to live transcends race, sexual orientation, and gender.
Many find it ironic that certain individuals who identify as pro life, only seem to have regard for unborn lives. In this very vain, the most worrisome thing for many Americans at this time is Barrett’s plan for women’s reproductive rights. She allegedly plans on criminalizing abortion. While she infers abortion could become punishable by the death penalty, she has declined outright confirmation of such stating, “It would not be appropriate for me to offer an opinion on abstract legal issues or hypotheticals.” She also allegedly plans to put legislation in place that will make birth control harder to access, and even jeopardize alternative ways to conceive such as In-vitro Fertilization.
Many find it ironic that certain individuals who identify as pro life, only seem to have regard for unborn lives.
Members of the LGBTQIA+ community also fear for their rights as there is talk of Justice Barrett wanting to reverse the legalization of same sex marriage. Our elderly population shivers at the possibility of their health insurance no longer covering pre-existing health conditions, according to a policy Barrett plans to introduce.
Others have pointed out some of the cases Justice Barrett worked on during her time on the US Court of Appeals. In a case known as Biegert V. Molitor where a mother called the police to get help for her mentally ill son right after a suicide attempt, Barrett sided with the police. The son cooperated at first, but then, out of fear, he attempted to use a kitchen knife to defend himself, and was shot and killed in his home by the police. It is notable that Barrett and her husband have adopted 2 African American children, and many find it confusing that she would defend the police, instead of the African American victims.
The Reason for Minority Disappointment
There are many reasons that Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation is devastating for some in minority groups. A lot of the policies Barrett is rumored to introduce seemingly will take the country back in time. In fact, some of her policies could make it more difficult for people to decide what they would like to do with their own lives and bodies. The supreme court currently heavily leans to the right with almost all Catholic, conservative Justices and not a single protestant Justice.
The purpose of the US Supreme Court is to provide equality and justice under the law. However, when the ideas, experience, and goals of the people in that court are not diverse it puts the American people at risk. The decisions they make in the US Supreme Court affect the rights of all Americans, and put minorities at an even greater disadvantage. This, more than anything, should urge citizens to get out and vote on November 3rd. We do not have control over who sits in the US Supreme Court but we do have the opportunity to vote for the judges who represent us locally, state wide, and even have the power to determine who sits in the White House. It is our duty and privilege to exercise a right that many of our forefathers and foremothers suffered for, and vote in this upcoming election.
Don’t allow your disappointment in the confirmation of Justice Barrett to deter you from voting. Justice for your communities depends on your vote.