The New York Times
With the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg in September, her passing left a vacancy on the Supreme Court. The President was quick to jump and appoint a new associate Justice and the hearings began on Oct. 12.
Amy Coney Barrett was confirmed to the Supreme Court which changed the court to a conservative majority of 6-to-3, changing the course of legislation for decades to come.
The hearings lasted 4 days with senators from both parties asking questions to determine her legitimacy. She was asked about controversial topics such as the Affordable Care Act, the separation of families at the border and climate change. Barrett refused to express her views on these issues although many Republican senators praised her for her conservative values.
During the hearings, Barrett was asked by senator Ben Sasse to name the five freedoms granted by the 1st amendment. She named speech, press, religion and assembly before asking “what else am I missing?” Sasse told Barrett that she had forgotten the right to protest.
Senator John Cornyn asked Barrett if she had any notes that she was using to assist her in answering the questions. Barrett held up a blank notepad that senator Cornyn called “impressive.”
Barrett forgetting the fifth freedom of the 1st amendment is not only concerning, but embarrassing. As a nominee of the highest court in the land, those 5 freedoms should be something that comes easily to her. Not knowing one of the most important ones is scary for the future of her career as well as questions her qualifications for associate Justice.
The blank notepad Barrett held up during her hearing was not “impressive.” It was unprofessional. That just shows how empty her answers were and no thought or evidence to back them up was given during her responses.
In 2015, Terrell Day was arrested by Indianapolis Police for allegedly stealing from a store in a nearby mall. Day was lying on his stomach with his hands cuffed behind him. Due to his size, Day was unable to breathe and notified the officer of that. The officer left Day on his stomach until paramedics arrived, in which it was too late to save Day.
During this case, Barrett and the other justices on the Seventh Circuit court reached a conclusion that stated there was no precedent establishing a right for Day to have the cuffs taken off of him after complaining of trouble breathing.
Barrett’s conclusion on this case was that she believes breathing is not a constitutional right because it doesn’t explicitly say so. What Barrett failed to realize is that the right to life is one of the three unalienable rights mentioned in the Declaration of Independence. As well as the 9th amendment that states just because something is not specifically written in the constitution doesn’t mean it is not a right.
Barrett’s views are very conservative and that is problematic for a society that’s rapidly changing and moving away from those kinds of views. Her opinions on issues won’t represent the majority of Americans for which these legislations are being passed.
In 2013, she signed a newspaper advertisement against Roe v. Wade and spoke at 2 anti-abortion events at Notre Dame University. Barrett personally opposes abortion as she is from the Catholic faith and many fear for the future of Roe v. Wade. Many believe she will overturn it if given the chance.
LGBT+ civil rights groups like Lambda Legal expressed doubts about Barrett’s ability to separate her faith from her decision making on matters such as marriage equality.
Barrett was appointed to the Supreme Court only 8 days before the 2020 election. This decision is not only disrespectful but hypocritical as well. The American people have not yet decided on who will be the next president. This appointment is Trump’s way of retaining power if he were to lose the election. It is disrespectful to Ruth Bader Ginsburg because her last wish was to wait until after the election to replace her seat on the court.
In 2016, Republicans urged Obama to not appoint a new Supreme Court Justice so close to an election. Obama nominated Merrick Garland in March, months before the election.
This year showed the hypocrisy of Senate Republicans such as Mitch McConnell who stated Trump’s appointment would be voted for on the Senate floor just hours after Ginsburg’s passing.
“I want you to use my words against me. If there’s a Republican President in 2016 and a vacancy occurs in the last year of the first term, you can say Lindsay Graham said let’s let the next President, whoever it might be, make that nomination, and you can use my words against me and you’d be absolutely right,” said Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Senator, in 2016.
Graham defended himself this year saying this election is different from 2016 as Republicans control the White House and Senate.
The nomination of Amy Coney Barrett is one that will change the court for years. Many are terrified of losing basic human rights like the right to get married legally or access to safe abortions. If Trump loses the election, he has Barrett, Kavanaugh and Gorsuch on the Supreme Court as a signal to the American people that he still has power over them, years after his presidency.