Amy Coney Barrett and the Future of the Supreme Court – Republican Article
On Monday, 26 October 2020, Amy Coney Barrett was sworn in as the Supreme Court Justice to succeed the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg. With just one Republican Senator voting against her nomination, she was confirmed by the Senate in a 52-48 vote.
The whole nomination process has been controversial. From hypocritical politicians going back on their word, to questionable views held by Barrett herself, it is yet another Trump-era controversy for the history books.
Despite the views she may hold, and of the controversy surrounding her nomination, in the end, she is an extremely qualified nominee, receiving a “well qualified” rating from the American Bar Association (ABA). The ABA praised her for her “staggering academic mind” and “stellar judicial temperament”. She is, on paper, a very solid candidate with a strong foundation to have a storied career as a Supreme Court Justice.
Furthermore, she proved herself to be professional, intelligent, and level headed throughout the hearing process. This, despite the onslaught of some rather ridiculous questions from Senators who clearly have a very basic grasp and understanding of the law compared to Barrett.
But, to me, she is the wrong person for the job.
To start, we must look back at who she is replacing: Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Justice Ginsburg was, and will forever be, a prominent figure in the fight for gender equality in the US. From the very start of her career as a lawyer, Justice Ginsburg proved that it was possible for women to succeed in the male-dominated world of litigation.
She was the first person to be both on the Harvard, and Columbia law reviews, graduated top of her class at Columbia, and overcame countless instances of sexism during her career. Justice Ginsburg forged a path and inspired countless women to follow in her footsteps and pursue a career in law. It goes without saying that without Justice Ginsburg, Amy Coney Barrett may have never even come close to achieving what she has.
While Justice Ginsburg was a powerful ally in the fight for women’s equality, Amy Coney Barrett is a strong conservative. Strong conservative justices have been prominent figures in the Supreme Court for a very long time; we must not look too far in the past to find one. The late Justice Antonin Scalia, for whom Barrett clerked for in the ’90s, was a hard-line conservative and opposed landmark decisions such as Roe vs. Wade.
Furthermore, Barrett and Scalia are both originalists, believing the law must be interpreted based on the time it was written and adopted. As such, the First Amendment today should mean the same thing it meant back in 1790. During her confirmation hearings, Barrett dodged many questions regarding her opinion on Roe vs. Wade. However, in past writings, she has expressed pro-life views, as well as voted twice before in favor of reviewing abortion restrictions that have been struck down. However, she did also rule to protect “buffer zones” surrounding abortion clinics that prevent protestors from heckling those entering the facility.
My main concern with Amy Coney Barrett is what the future of the Supreme Court will look like with such a strong conservative majority. While I identify as a conservative and as a Republican, I find myself often disagreeing with the parties’ approach to contentious issues such as abortion and gay rights.
Once upon a time, the GOP believed in small government with minimal interference in peoples’ personal lives. It is therefore hypocritical for a party, built on this idea, to support government action to restrict what a woman can and can’t do with her body.
This is where the future of Roe vs. Wade may look distressing to many. The Supreme Court will unlikely hear a direct challenge to Roe vs. Wade any time soon, but eventually, it is bound to happen. Amy Coney Barrett, like Scalia, would most likely challenge the legality of this decision, stating that the Constitution makes no mention of abortion rights. Roe vs. Wade being overruled wouldn’t spell the end of the world for abortion rights in the US. But it would instead allow state governments to make their own decisions on the legality of abortion in their respective states.
This isn’t the end of abortion rights in the US, but it’s a major step backwards.
It’s issues like this which leave me conflicted with my own personal views on states’ rights. The Federal Government must not become this overbearing force over the states and their own laws. But simultaneously, this potentially leaves the door open to widespread inequality to arise in the US. While more liberal states in New England would likely be quick to ratify laws protecting a woman’s right to abortion, I am doubtful strong conservative states in the Bible Belt would rule the same way. While a woman in Vermont would have access the access to an abortion if she needs one, a woman in Alabama may not be afforded the same right.
However, her confirmation is not the end of times as some are making it out to be. She’s a brilliant woman who now finds herself in the highest court in the land. I just hope she recognizes the power she holds over the future of the women in this country.
There’s no way to predict how she may decide to rule on certain cases. Despite her having said certain things and held certain views in the past, people can change. Just look at Joe Biden’s comments on gay marriage in 2008 and his stance on gay marriage now.
Written by Republican Writer, Sebastian Calcopietro
Point of Information
The Nomination of Amy Coney Barrett Just Adds Insult to Injury – A Democratic Response
To replace the stalwart that was Justice Ruth Baiter Ginsberg with a hack like Amy Coney Barrett is insulting.
It is nearly the exact same play the republicans did in 1991 with the retirement of Thurgood Marshall. They nominated the decrepit Clarence Thomas to replace him for two reasons. Firstly, because he is a hardline conservative, and secondly, because he was a black man. The republicans replaced a progressive justice with one that looked just like them but who was diametrically opposed to them. The GOP pulled out the same stunt in 2020 with Amy Coney Barrett.
While Amy Coney Barrett receives a “well qualified” rating from the American Bar Association, she was part of a religious cult. No one who has been part of religious cult should be on the supreme court, or hold any position in any government for that matter.
The cult, People of Praise, is extremely conservative and homophobic. This is extremely concerning because it was only five years ago that the supreme court legalized gay marriage nationwide. And recently Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas have signalled their wish to overturn same-sex marriage, because of “ruinous consequences”. Justice Barrett and her cultish beliefs could be a key vote in overturning this landmark decision that let many of my fellow Americans enjoy and live their life to the fullest.
Not only could Justice Barrett set back the clock decades on social progress, but she could also accelerate the imminent climate catastrophes. She has previously stated that, “[climate change is a] very contentious matter of public debate”. While people do debate climate change, the science is settled. Human activity has been causing the planet to warm at an unnatural rate, while generating more intense weather patterns. The state of Louisiana has already faced five different named hurricanes this year.
Justice Barrett is also an originalist. The problem with an originalist interpretation of the constitution is that it is an outdated document. If we use a document from 1790 to interpret problems in 2020 and beyond, we are in serious trouble. Since the constitution has not seen significant change for 230 years, we must at least update our understanding and interpretation of it. Sadly, Amy Coney Barrett will stick to an archaic understanding of our founding document. But as my colleague and friend said, people can change, and I sure hope she does.
Written by Democratic Writer, Ali Lahrech
Say Goodbye to Social Progress – A Foreign Perspective
The appointment of Justice Barrett should have never gone ahead.
The ideological shift and hypocrisy of her appointment undermines the Court’s pursuit of social justice.
Mitch McConnell affirmed it is not about rule of law nor tradition, but party affiliation when it comes to Supreme Court nominations; a body where judges are supposed to be above politics.
Immediately after the death of Justice Scalia in 2016, it was announced that Obama’s nomination would be blocked due to the upcoming election. By postponing until the presidential vote it was said to ‘give people a voice in the filling of this vacancy’.
Consequently, the nomination was withheld for Trump’s presidency.
Yet rather than waiting for the next presidential term and abide by the ‘Biden law’ that had justified the prevention of Obama’s nominee, the nomination of Barrett was rushed through hearings and became the closest any appointment has been made to an election.
Justice Scalia died in February. Justice Ginsburg died in September. Presidential elections are always in November. Why are these changes being made for Trump?
If the American public sees sense and vote Trump out, this appointment should reject that democratic decision. Trump has made it clear that if he loses he will not step down easily. He is openly admitting that he expects the election results to end up at the Supreme Court, hence the importance of having nine justices (that sway towards him) this time around.
This appointment also marks the biggest ideological shift in modern history. Not only is Barrett a far-right conservative, but she has a history of contradicting the movement towards gender equality; a movement that Ginsburg significantly advanced.
Sebastian is right to stress concerns over the effects Barrett will have on abortion laws. Especially considering her track record is to vote against women rights to their own body.
It’s fine for Barrett to be personally opposed to abortions, she doesn’t have to have one. But to impose this decision on millions of other women not only violates personal freedom but contradicts the small state narrative of republicans.
It looks as if Barrett will follow in Saclias shoes. In short, this means hindering the progression of America’s legal system. Their ‘originalist’ interpretation of a 1787 document is not suited to the challenges faced in the 21st century.
We can’t afford for Justices to simply not hold ‘firm views’ on climate change. This issue may not be laid out in the constitution but it’s the greatest global problem of our day.
The constitution has failed to provide equality under the law, that is why contextual interpretation is necessary. We’re all aware that this is the same document that tolerated slavery, right?
The ABA’s ‘well qualified’ rating is neither sufficient nor a final judgement of what makes a good Supreme Court Judge. America needs someone to ensure equality under the law. This won’t come from an ‘originalist’ – or anti-progressive – reading of the constitution.
An academic mind does not equate to having a good moral compass.
Like Sebastian has argued, she is well qualified but she’s not suitable for the aims of the court. Neither has her appointment reflected the will of the people.
The constitution was written for and by rich white men. Another ‘originalist’ Justice will not advance the aims of the constitution.
Written by Foreign Perspective Writer, Abby Milnes