The death of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg sent shockwaves throughout the country Sept. 18,. Although she has many years of experience under her belt, Amy Barrett shouldn’t have been confirmed as a U.S. Supreme Court justice.
Barrett made headlines as Trump’s nomination for U.S. Supreme Court justice shortly after the death of Ginsburg, whose career aimed at ensuring equal rights for women and equal protection under the law for all. She made it clear that if she were to die during the presidential election year, her wish would be to leave the seat vacant until after the election. The Trump administration didn’t honor her final wish, as they immediately worked to fill the now vacant U.S. Supreme Court seat, completely disrespecting Ginsburg’s legacy.
Apart from what the outcome of the 2020 election will be, Barrett’s confirmation will go beyond Trump’s time in office. U.S. Supreme Court justices serve lifelong terms, so it should’ve been in the people’s hands to vote in this upcoming election and let the next president move forward with appointing the next U.S. Supreme Court justice. With election day so close, it’s obvious the Trump administration rushed to pack in another judge, which made the majority of the U.S. Supreme Court conservative.
Democratic senators pushed for an appointment to be filled after the November election, but it was a tough fight, as the Senate majority is Republican. Barrett is a conservative woman who’s known to let her religion guide her views and is a popular figure among conservatives. In a position that’s meant to be bipartisan, justices often show their biases through their rulings, and often presidents will appoint those who align with their party’s beliefs. Although Barrett has stated that she won’t mix her faith with her work, it’s been an area of concern and a hot topic that’s been discussed during her hearings.
The fact that she’s religious isn’t the problem — the concern comes from whether or not her Catholic beliefs will overpower her commitment to the American people and the Constitution.
The Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, which has made healthcare available for millions, has been targeted throughout Trump’s presidency. The Affordable Care Act could be jeopardized in November when it’ll be brought to the courts, especially with the appointment of Barrett. Overturning parts of Obamacare or its entirety will harm people covered by the act who otherwise couldn’t afford healthcare.
Additionally, abortion accessibility is up for debate, as Roe v. Wade has resurfaced as a talking point during Barrett’s hearing. This landmark case made it legal for women to make the choice of having an abortion without fearing restrictions from the government. When asked about the Supreme Court case of Roe v. Wade, Barrett never gave a clear answer on her stance, but in 2006, Barrett made her beliefs known by signing her name on a movement that disagrees with the Court’s decision on Roe v. Wade. The statement she signed her name onto was made by St. Joseph County Right to Life, an organization created to counter Roe v. Wade. Its main goal was to “support the right to life from fertilization to a natural death”.
Another alarming, yet brief, moment of her confirmation hearing was when she was asked to recite the five liberties of the First Amendment. For someone who’s worked their entire life in the judicial system, listing the First Amendment rights should be a no-brainer. Although her blank notepad may have been impressive, not knowing the First Amendment as a candidate for the U.S. Supreme Court is worrisome to say the least.
The confirmation of Barrett during an election year and just eight days before election day is a direct attack on democracy. The people of the U.S. should’ve been allowed to have their voices heard by casting their ballots for a president that has their best interests in mind. Whoever wins the 2020 election should’ve had the power to nominate the next Supreme Court justice, all while honoring the wishes of the late and legendary Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Mastan Rashid is a sophomore media arts and design major. Contact Mastan at firstname.lastname@example.org.