Amy Coney Barrett’s Confirmation to the Supreme Court

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Jorge Espinoza-Gonzalez, Staff Writer

Amy Coney Barrett. If you have been keeping up with Washington, D.C., you have heard her name more than a couple of times. President Donald Trump, on the verge of re-election, along with the U.S. Senate, have successfully planted Justice Barrett in the U.S. Supreme Court as of Oct. 27.

Although the Trump administration boasts of its choice to further gender diversity in the U.S. Supreme Court, it also celebrated the Senate’s passing of another conservative. Republicans and right-leaning moderates see it as a huge political advantage. To Democrats and left-leaning moderates, Justice Barrett’s confirmation has made them extremely worried. In response to Barrett’s confirmation, Congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar of the Democratic Party propose a plan to “stack the courts,” a plan that suggests the addition of judges to the Supreme Court. Talk of future proposals arose out of the controversy of Barrett’s nomination and confirmation. 

One of the first challenges that the president faced was the proximity of his nomination to the 2020 election. During President Obama’s office, the president nominated Merrick Garland. Although he was not running in the 2016 election, Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, did not allow Garland to have hearings due to the proximity of the election. Instead, the Senate waited until the new president, Donald Trump, was elected; President Trump nominated Neil Gorsuch in January 2017 and he was confirmed in April 2017. On the other hand, Justice Barrett was confirmed only a month after Ruth Bader Ginsburg, her predecessor, passed. This decision is the reason why many call Barrett’s confirmation “rushed.” 

“Honest Abe said it’s not the right thing to do,” said Vice Presidential candidate Kamala Harris during the 2020 Vice President debate, referring to former president Abraham Lincoln’s decision to not to fill a seat in the Supreme Court that had opened up 27 days before his election.

Republicans believe that it is the president’s right and obligation to fill that seat. Democrats claim that the president should have waited until he got re-elected or a new president took office. In addition, many Americans believe that the president has ignored Ginsburg’s request for her seat in the Supreme Court to be empty until a new president was elected. Nevertheless, President Trump persisted to nominate Barrett for the seat.

During the actual hearings, both sides of the political spectrum were disappointed with Barrett’s answers to the Senate’s questions.

“It would not be appropriate for me to offer an opinion on abstract legal issues or hypotheticals,” repeated Barrett throughout her hearings.

Democrats took this as a clear message that she would not answer anything that would make her unpopular. However, Republicans saw Barrett’s repetitive responses as her way to answer the irrelevant. 

One thing that drives the Democratic Party to openly oppose Barrett’s confirmation, is the overwhelming conservative majority that it would cement if she got confirmed. If Barrett were to fill Ginsburg’s seat in the Court, it would solidify a 6-3 Republican majority, which according to CNN, “would wind back the law in America for decades, in some cases to the 1930s…” 

Numerous marginalized groups side with Democrats, claiming that Barrett’s confirmation would add fuel to Republican power and tip the scale against the favor of the blue. For example, the LGBTQ+ community is in fear of losing a same-sex marriage, repealing all of the actions taken in response to Obergefell v. Hodges. Also, women and all pro-choice activists are afraid of losing the right to abortion, a matter that Republicans have opposed since Roe v. Wade. Not to mention all of the people who are concerned about losing health benefits with the possible nullification of ObamaCare. 

But on Monday, Oct. 26, Amy Coney Barrett became the Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court. We will all have to live with the decision, whether we like it or not. We know she’s seen as ideal to Republicans and hypocritical to Democrats. We know her confirmation has and will be highly debated. We know that we will soon see the impact she will bring. But most importantly, we know without a shadow of a doubt, that we don’t know what she’ll do next.

 

Photo courtesy of NBCNEWS.COM